While all types of online attacks are concerning, a data breach can shake any company to its core. Time is critical after a data breach. The right steps can remediate the situation, while the wrong steps can have the opposite effect.
So, what is a data breach, and how can it impact your organization? Well, a data breach or data leak is a type of cyberattack that allows a hacker to gain access to your private, sensitive, or confidential data. If the data is financial or carries customer information, it can result in legal issues, loss of customer confidence, and worse, especially if it lands on the Dark Web for sale. Here are remedial steps to take after a data breach:
Studies suggest that most organizations don’t discover a data breach until weeks, if not months, have passed. As soon as you learn of a data breach, you must investigate to understand the scope of the attack. Was it just company data stolen, or was client data also taken? Additionally, you must satisfy any legal obligations by informing the authorities. Similarly, customers must also be informed so that they can immediately change sensitive information and check their accounts for financial hacks or identity theft.
Data leaks can occur due to various reasons. Improperly configured access to subfolders carrying sensitive information is a common source of data leaks. Unpatched systems, unsecured endpoints, and careless employees are also common reasons for data leaks. Use a security team to learn how to remediate the leak, so it doesn’t occur again.
Address any weaknesses or vulnerabilities in your SQL database management software, invest in employee training to help staff recognize phishing attacks, and install excellent antivirus software with anti-malware technology on company systems. Please also consider investing in endpoint detection and response tools to protect all endpoints like desktops, laptops, servers, mobile phones, and tablets.
Other ways to harden defenses are to use stronger passwords, regularly change login credentials, activate multifactor authentication, and invest in a corporate virtual private network (VPN). Finally, data segmentation can also help slow criminals down and buy precious minutes during an attack.
If the breach is due to corporate espionage, then reconfigure your security protocols and systems to allow access strictly on a need-to-know basis. You may also need to set stricter rules on how sensitive data is copied and shared.
#3 Think Twice Before Paying Hackers
If the party responsible for the data breach is a professional cybercriminal outfit like a ransomware gang, think twice before paying hackers. We understand that sometimes you may feel like you have no choice but to pay hackers, but consider the following points first:
- There is no guarantee that hackers will keep their promises after payment.
- Paying cybercriminals encourages them to carry out more attacks.
- Many hackers attack successful targets again after getting paid.
- Some ransomware gangs double dip by selling stolen data on the Dark Web despite getting paid.
Losing priceless data to hackers due to a cybersecurity breach can deeply impact your operations. But ignoring or hiding the problem is likely to make it worse. Learn from your mistakes to persevere.