Businesses that understand how to prevent a data breach can incur costly penalties, loss of business and destroy their reputation. With more and more collaboration between companies, merchants, suppliers and users taking place online, the threat of third party data breaches is more prevalent than ever.
A third-party breach occurs when an informal group or individual earns unauthorized passage to a network through a vendor, supplier, or another third party, and collects sensitive data (user data, personal information, payment data, etc.). ) is capable of stealing. And if your network is not integrated with remote access solutions, you may be more vulnerable to these types of attacks.
What are the most common causes of data breaches?
Various common causes of data breaches include malware attacks, weak authentication and social engineering. While cybercriminals are rapidly developing their own toolbox, various companies are also increasing security standards to match the threat.
The initial step in how to avoid a data breach is to research the root causes behind these interventions. More often than not, a large-scale data breach would be the work of intentional hackers, as in the carelessness of an employee or exposure to a network malfunction. While hackers’ motives can vary greatly, the threat must be dealt with if you want to keep users safe.
• Weak Passwords or Stolen Credentials– Even as various application and device makers are ramping up security, weak authentication measures are still a top target of potential data breaches — including a catastrophic breach that affected SolarWinds, a provider of remote access tool Demware. Commonly used devices, such as industrial IoT devices, still rely on default login credentials and other forms of single-step authentication. These glaring vulnerabilities can lead to theft of login credentials.
In May 2019, Australian design corporation Canva experienced a data breach that affected 137 million users. It was decided that criminals used bcrypt passwords to infiltrate accounts and view personal payment data of users. To properly know how to prevent a data breach, it is necessary to examine these examples of weak authentication that have led to major attacks.
• Malware Attacks– Data breaches will not be able to be prevented without combating malware. Malware is malicious software that is installed to gain illegal access to a network. Often, merchants are targeted by cybercriminals as a potential channel of access to the networks of all the major corporations with whom they do business.
In May 2017, mega credit agency Equifax announced a data breach that affected approximately 148 million personalities and exposed the credit card data of 209,000 buyers. The breach occurred due to application vulnerabilities exposed to malware. Once inside, the hackers used this malware to push the latter into Equifax’s network, increasing the attack’s scope.
• Phishing Scams– Phishing scams occur when malicious characters disguise themselves as authorized parties and solicit sensitive data. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Clinton campaign director John Podesta was the victim of one of the most popular phishing attacks in today’s history. A Russian hacker club known as Fancy Bears posed as Google in an email to Podesta employees, warning them about the need to adjust their login credentials. Bad request linked to a malicious website that gave hackers access to Podesta’s account.
As a result, sensitive emails were leaked, and the political landscape of the elections changed drastically.
1. Do your due diligence on vendors– Your company is expanding, and you want to contract out specific work to third-party vendors. This is great news, but it comes with the added duty of choosing a vendor you can trust with an appropriate level of access to data.
One of the necessary steps to dodge data breaches is to do due diligence before hiring third party companies, vendors, MSPs, VaRs, etc. Do a complete security assessment of each candidate from your team. Ask these potential vendors what protocols they have in place to prevent cybersecurity threats. If you thoroughly test your vendors, set rigorous methods and protocols, and use appropriate security solutions, you will be able to breathe easy understanding that your affiliates take your data security seriously.
2. Set up a Least-Privilege policy– The next actionable step to prevent a data breach is to establish a least privilege policy for vendors and third parties. Just because you’ve signed an agreement with a third party doesn’t mean they have the same security standards – some detect malicious characters very well.
A “Least-privileges” approach is a tiered approach in which all parties are granted a minimal amount of security clearance that still allows them to fulfill their role.
3. Keep an eye on all users and perform security audits– Once a breach occurs, it may be too late to conduct an audit that will trace the dwelling back to its source. But if you consolidate frequent audits and penetration testing across your network, you will be able to track vulnerabilities in real time and patch them appropriately.
4. Make sure strong authentication and encryption– Its technical team on how to avoid a data breach starts with authentication and encryption. As we discussed earlier, various data breaches are the result of weak login passwords and hijacked credentials.
As a result, you should include strong, MFA authentication measures for all user login credentials crosswise machines. If you are a remote MSP, require your customers to update their login credentials on a recurring schedule and phase out the default password-enabled device.
Whether you have on-premises or cloud-based servers, 256-bit encryption will keep your channels safe from even the largest baseline malicious network traffic. Encrypted channels greatly simplify endpoint monitoring and prevent cybercriminals from accessing your network.
5. Make security a priority across teams– Train your entire team on best practices for limiting data gaps. Just as you provide your employees and vendors with the least privilege to protect them, you should also provide them with abundant resources to fight phishing scams and other social engineering efforts.
Your endpoints can be viewed, and your channels encrypted, but only good training can restrict an employee from clicking on malicious links or inadvertently exposing sensitive information.
6. Respond properly to breaches– An appropriate response to a data breach when it occurs is an important part of how to prevent a data breach from happening again tomorrow.
If your business is suffering a breach, identify the size and scope by pulling your audit logs. Redirect traffic if important and patch your software respectively. Be open and honest with your users and draw on the steps you are taking to correct the situation. A complete response to a data breach may create liability with users and may further enhance your security measures.