We hear about data breaches more frequently. It seems like every week, another company has been breached and the information of millions leaked. But what exactly is a data breach, and what happens to your data after the leak? How can you protect yourself?
In this article, we’ll be exploring what a data breach is and a few common causes. We’ll also look at where the data goes after a leak. Finally, we’ll look at a few ways to protect yourself, such as using datacenter proxy providers , using complex passwords that are changed frequently, and updating software. We’ll be covering the following data breach topics:
- What are data breaches?
- What happens to your data after a breach?
- Some noteworthy breaches
- How to protect yourself from data breaches?
What Are Data Breaches?
Data breaches occur when sensitive or confidential information is accessed and shared by someone without permission. This type of data usually includes personal details such as usernames, telephone numbers, IDs, and addresses. It could also include other confidential information such as bank accounts, passwords, medical details and history, and much more. According to studies, 95% of data breaches occur due to human error, such as a user sending confidential information to the wrong person via email or someone leaving their accounts open for anyone to see and access. However, these aren’t the only causes of data breaches; some other causes include:
- Lost or stolen devices
- Weak or stolen credentials
- Phishing attacks
- Brute force attacks
- Insider threats
What Happens To Your Data After A Breach?
The big question that many have regarding data breaches is what happens to your information once it’s been leaked. Is it really such a big deal? The reality is far scarier than many may think. Once your data has been leaked, you have no control over it or where it ends up. Your data can end up on the dark web or forums where it’s sold to the highest bidder. With this information, these fraudsters can assume your identity, commit credit card fraud under your name, use or abuse your medical insurance, stalk you, and much more. For this reason, data breaches should be considered significant security threats.
Some Noteworthy Breaches
There have been a number of noteworthy data breaches in the last few years, but a few come to mind:
To this date, the infamous Yahoo data breach remains the most extensive recorded breach in the world. The breach was announced in 2014 and leaked the credentials of 500 million users. The data contained names, emails, telephone numbers, birth dates, passwords, and security questions.
This breach was reported in 2017 by the third largest credit consumer agency in the US. The breach affected 148 million Americans and contained names, home addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, social security numbers, and driver’s licenses.
Dongfan ‘Greg’ Chung was found responsible for the most prolonged ongoing data breach recorded. This insider attack occurred from 1976 - 2006, which is a 30 year long breach. This breach resulted in the theft of at least $2 billion worth of aerospace documentation from Boeing.
This is one of the more recent breaches that occurred in 2020. Clearview AI is a facial recognition company that works with many powerful law enforcement agencies. The entire client list with personal and confidential data was stolen during the breach. This also included the photos of three billion of those clients.
How To Protect Yourself From Data Breaches?
You are probably wondering what you can do to protect your information from these breaches. Here are a few precautions against data breaches you can take.
Using datacenter proxies adds an additional layer of security and anonymity to when you browse the internet. Being protected by datacenter proxies will make it extremely difficult for individuals to track you and hack into your network or system.
Have You Been Part Of A Breach? Check Now
There are many services online, like haveibeenpwned , that you can use to check if your email address was involved in a breach. These sites will list any breaches that may have included your email address and what data was leaked. By knowing this, you can take action and change your passwords or even the entire account, depending on the risk.
Whenever you create accounts, make sure you use strong and unique passwords. It’s also not advised to use one password for all your accounts, as then it’s easier to gain access to. For added security, you can even use a reliable password manager like 1Password or similar to create truly unique and completely random passwords that hackers will struggle to guess.
Update Software And Hardware
Keeping your software and hardware updated at all times is an excellent way to ensure your devices are protected from any vulnerabilities that may have been discovered.
Enable Multi-Factor Authentication Where Possible
Multi-factor authentication is another great way to protect your confidential data. This way, even if someone gets a hold of your email address and password, there are still other layers, such as biometrics or acceptance messages, that block them from accessing your data.
Data protection is incredibly important amidst all the potential breaches we face on a daily basis. We cannot simply ignore the breaches and hope for the best. We should be proactive in protecting our data and demand that companies do the same.