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The 4 Types of Data Breaches You Need to Know

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If you were hit with a data breach, would you know?

It seems like a silly question, but companies take an average of more than 190 days to identify a data breach. Imagine the damage a hacker could inflict on your business in that time! Considering that the average data breach in the U.S. costs $7.91 million, it’s smart to know what you’re looking for, so you can quickly identify and contain the damage – minimizing the costs of lost data, lost productivity and noncompliance.

Here are the four major types of breaches you need to protect your business against:

Ransomware

Ransomware attacks occur when a hacker takes your data hostage in exchange for a payment. This often means encrypting your data, so you can’t access or read it. For most businesses, this brings production to a standstill. Unfortunately, even paying the ransom may not resolve the situation. In 2018, 45 percent of U.S. companies that were hit by a ransomware attack paid the ransom, but only 26 percent of those companies had their files unlocked.

Ransomware can be delivered through email, malicious websites or social media messages, among other avenues. Even if your data is restored, assume that any sensitive data on the affected machines has been compromised. 

Malware

Malware is a more general term that includes attacks like spyware and viruses. Malware is generally designed with the goal of stealing information from your systems in one way or another. Viruses can even spread between the computers on your network. 

Unlike ransomware, which is usually detected right away, other forms of malware can cause months or years of damage before they’re detected. According to Verizon’s 2018 Breach Investigations report, 92 percent of malware is delivered by email.

Phishing

One of the most common forms of email malware is phishing attacks. In a phishing attack, a victim receives an email that seems to come from a trusted sender. In generic attacks, this might be someone like UPS or Apple. The recipient clicks a link or downloads an attachment, unintentionally downloading a virus onto their system.

Some phishing attacks are even more targeted. They may appear to come from a source close to you, like your company’s leadership. This can be extremely difficult for your employees to recognize without proper security training.

Denial of Service (DoS)

A Denial of Service (DoS) attack is designed to shut down a machine or network, making it basically inaccessible. Attackers accomplish this in two ways. One is a flood attack, where attackers flood the target with more traffic than the server can handle, causing it to slow down and eventually stop. Hackers can also exploit vulnerabilities that cause a system to crash.

The goal is typically not to steal information, but to lock legitimate users, such as employees or customers, out of a system. You may have also heard news stories involving Distributed Denial of Service, or DDoS, attacks. DDoS attacks can cause more intensive damage, since the target is being attacked by multiple systems at multiple locations.

Other Types of Data Breaches

Not every breach comes from a hacker – there are other types of data breaches to be on the lookout for. Employees may accidentally cause a breach by viewing data they’re not authorized to handle, or by leaving a laptop or other device where it can be lost or stolen. Employees or other internal personnel may also act maliciously by downloading, sharing or erasing data with the intention of causing harm to a company.

How We Can Help

Data breaches are constantly evolving and becoming more dangerous, but you can tackle them with help from a trusted security partner. Our security solutions shield your business from a broad spectrum of cyberthreats while we educate your team on best practices to avoid data breaches. If you’re ready to take your data security seriously, contact us now.

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