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Data Breaching

Data breaching is when information is accessed without the person’s consent.

This can affect businesses negatively and consumers in a lot of ways. Furthermore, it can damage lives and reputations and takes a long time to repair. Technology is improving in this day and age, which means that cyber attacks have been more common and costly. The average total cost when data breaches occur is $3.86 million, which is roughly $148 on average per record.


Why does breaching occur?

  • Out-of-date software can allow an attacker to sneak malware onto the computer and steal data

  • Weak and insecure passwords are easier for hackers to guess.

For example, short passwords and the same password that is used on every account can make your account more vulnerable to being hacked.

  • Unintentionally downloading apps that have a virus or malware.

  • Attackers use spam or phishing emails to trick the user into giving their personal information and so the attacker can download malware documents.


How to protect yourself:

  • If you have a new credit card or a new account, check it regularly to see if an attacker has attempted to open it.

  • If there are any suspicious activities, such as your information being stolen in a data breach, contact the department immediately.

  • Make sure your devices each have a different password. This provides a line of defense if your device is stolen or lost, and make sure that this password is strong (minimum 8 characters long, with a mixture of lower case and upper case letters, numbers and special characters like * and !).

  • Whenever you go onto an unknown website, check if the URL has https://. This means it is a secure website. This is important if you are paying for something online and you have to type in your bank details.

  • Install and use a software that includes malware and virus protection, and make sure it is regularly updated.

  • Backup your files regularly so that nothing is lost if your device has been hacked.

  • If you are recycling your old computer, make sure that your hard drive is clear of all the documents you have on there so that your information is less likely to be leaked. Do this for old smartphones and tablets as well before throwing them away.

  • Do not post personal or sensitive information on social media and make sure your profiles are private.

  • Make sure you use identity theft protection or credit monitoring service - this helps your personal information be protected as it could take months or even years to fix it when your identity has been stolen.


DATA BREACHING IN THE NEWS


On 20/02/2020, the US Department of Defence was hacked, which exposed the personal data of 200,000 people. This agency oversees military communications, such as calls from the US President himself. The data exposed included names and social security numbers. The agency still does not know who was behind the attacks and whether it was a group of people. However, they did confirm that the agency will follow up with information on how to prevent any more damage from happening.


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