10 Facts You Need to Know About Data Security

With the rise of data collection and data sharing by companies and government institutions, cyber threats have become increasingly prevalent and difficult to deal with. 95% of breached records came from three industries: retail, government and technology.

But regardless of the nature of your business or personal records, you could still become a target of a malicious hacker bent on ruining your affairs. These are the 10 most important facts you need to know about data security to prevent this from happening.

1. Every employee is a potential data security weakness

It’s not enough to have one cyber security expert to maintain your data security. Every employee that deals with sensitive data could be exploited by a hacker.

For example, an employee could be handling your business while using public or unprotected WiFi connection. This is a common danger associated with employees who work from remote locations. Doing so can make it easier for a criminal to setup a fake WiFi and redirect their login, sending malware their way and viewing their online activity, including any activity related to your business.

Educating your employees about cyber security through seminars and lectures is a necessity given today’s rising IT usage.

2. Healthcare industry is particularly prone to malware attacks

Healthcare industry is unfortunately paying less attention to cyber attacks at their own detriment. Since they are often not dealing with direct financial transactions, cyber security hasn’t been their top priority as was revealed by this comprehensive study.

Over 75% of healthcare industry has been infected by malware in the last year alone, including medical treatment facilities and health insurance agencies. Personal records and medical research are the main targets of hackers who attack these institutions. These records are then sold to the highest bidder in roundabout ways.

3. Data breaches can take a long time to detect

It can take over 6 months for even some of the major tech-savy companies like Facebook and Equifax to recognize a data breach. By that time hackers can get away with using passwords, credits cards, SSN and other information of their clients.

Even when companies realize that a data breach has been committed it’s still difficult to track who were the exact individuals whose data was extracted. This only serves as a warning to all of us to often change passwords and share our private information online only when it’s absolutely necessary.

4. Cyber security software has become a must

Any serious business and individual would be wise to invest in cyber security software. A solid antimalware program can detect and quarantine most security threats before they have time to fester in the system and create additional damage.

It’s also worth mentioning that although Windows updates are an annoyance for every regular user, they’re quite important for keeping the standard Windows firewall able to deflect the latest cyber security threats.

5. It has become easier to track down cyber criminals

One positive in this gloomy article is the rise of identification software, which allows users to identify individuals online by using one or more pieces of information.

For example, Nuwber is an online service that allows users to enter an email, name, physical address or another piece of info and receive data on the individual in question.

If you suspect that an email you’ve just received could pose a security threat, checking out the sender beforehand could be a good idea.

6. Cybercrime costs have skyrocketed over $1 trillion dollars in 2018

The reports are still on hold for 2019., but by the looks of it things aren’t getting any better. While large institutions are more likely to suffer extensive damage, individuals are more likely to be targeted by petty criminals.

Just as there are more petty criminals performing burglaries in real life than there are professional bank robbers, regular individuals such as you and I are even more likely to be target of a cyber attack.

This unnerving fact makes the information provided in this article just as relevant for us as it is for large companies and government institutions.

7. Cyber insurance is still not properly utilized

We’re all aware of the importance of health, travel, vehicle and other forms of insurance. But if so much of our important data is stored on online servers and is prone to data breaches, it’s more than obvious that having cyber insurance is perhaps just as important. It can cover important facets of security such as:
  • Legal expenses
  • IT forensics
  • Negotiation and payment of a ransomware demand
  • Data restoration
  • Breach notification to consumers
  • Setting up a call center
  • Public relations expertise
  • Credit Monitoring and Identity Restoration
But it’s not only our fault that cyber insurance is under-utilized. The fact of the matter is that the value of data such as medical records is often not as easy to evaluate as car damage, making the prospect of cyber insurance a bit woo-woo even today. But it’s worth considering nevertheless.

8. 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses

While larger institutions and companies can afford next-level cyber security, small businesses are often forced to compromise due to having a lower budget. And it just so happens that cyber security regularly ends up on the chopping block.

If you’re the owner of a small business and can’t afford premium antimalware and a professional IT security expert, it’s recommended to educate employees (and perhaps yourself as well) on the basics of cyber security through free lessons to reduce their chances of being manipulated by phishing emails and similar tactics.

9. Data breaches ruin customer trust

How would you feel about a company that lost your credit card information or your SSN? This is an immediate red flag for many clients. If a company can’t keep their most intimate information safe from outsiders, customers will rightly lose trust and seek more reliable competitors to work with.

When it was disclosed that Facebook shared information of their 50 million users with Cambridge Analytica, Facebook’s stock value dropped by 7% in a single day, causing 43 billion dollar losses. Definitely something to chew on!

10. There is a shortage of cyber security experts

With the increasing threats of black hacking, it’s no wonder that there’s an increased demand of white hacking experts. The Jedi academy is indeed in need of young talent.

A report from Frost & Sullivan found that the global cyber security workforce will have more than 1.5 million unfilled positions by 2020. So if you’re looking to learn a new skill and enter a fast-growing IT industry market this could well be your ticket for success.

Photo: Freepik / Fullvector

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