Data is the backbone of any organization. Regardless of which industry one works in, every organization has sensitive data. Unfortunately, there are always hackers active who aim for this data. They look for access to the data and either hold it hostage and demand a ransom to make the data active again, they delete or change data or leak it out or any type of data breach. It is clear that this can lead to major damage to organizations, both operationally, financially, and intangibly.
Ways in which hackers can access the data
There are many different ways in which hackers attempt to access organizational data. For example, they can leave USB sticks with malware in the hope that an employee will insert them into the PC or laptop. They also send phishing emails with an infected link or build reliable websites, but with harmful content. These methods clearly show that hackers like to focus on influencing human behavior to perform a hack.
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Most data breaches reported to the Dutch Data Protection Authority are therefore mainly the result of human errors. About 60% of all successful attacks start with an action by a person which he or she should not have done. Think of clicking on the phishing link, or putting the USB stick in the workplace.
It often only becomes clear much later that there is a data breach
Once hackers gain access to the network and there have been no signals of this breach, or signals being ignored, they can proceed undisturbed. They have plenty of time to copy data, run ransomware tests, or determine how they can leak data to do the most damage to the organization.
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Only when the hackers decide to carry out malicious actions, such as installing malware and ransomware, does the organization realize that they may have had an uninvited guest for months? At that time, the impact can already be catastrophic for business operations.
“By the way, did you know that cyber burglaries are often only found after an average of 4 months?”
The impact of a data breach
When a hacker has access to systems and data, this can have a major impact on an organization and the people involved. A hack can cause various forms of damage
The company’s primary processes fail. Network failure has unpleasant consequences for the service. As a result, customers may no longer be able to place orders, invoices are not paid and payroll administration may come to a standstill.
At the end of last year, Maastricht University experienced that network outages have unpleasant consequences for services. For days, this institution had little or no access to teaching schedules, exams, theses, registrations, subsidy applications, and scientific data.
In addition to paying high amounts to the hacker, there are also financial losses due to work being stopped and repair work. When an organization has sensitive data, loss and disclosure can even lead to claims for damages. In addition, a hack can also cause financial damage to people if credit card information is leaked. With leaked credit card information, there is a risk that someone can place orders online at someone else’s expense, or even take out a loan on your behalf.
the leakage of customer data violates the privacy of customers, which also leads to the possibility of identity fraud. Especially if passwords have also been leaked. There is a chance of damage to reputation for organizations. If business-sensitive information is exposed, it can directly affect the competitive position. People can lose confidence in an organization and choose alternatives. This indirectly has financial consequences.
Prevention is better than cure
No organization is waiting for a data breach and all associated adverse consequences, such as a breach of privacy and reputational damage. Continuous monitoring of the IT environment with a focus on detecting possible cyber attacks can ensure that an attack does not lead to a large-scale security incident.
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With your in-house MDR (Managed Detection and Response) service, you see when hackers come in and what cyber threat is involved. Suspicious login attempts, users who suddenly get much more rights and subsequently delete or move data or other actions that are remarkable are discovered.
Has someone in your organization unexpectedly clicked on a phishing link? Then the security analysts of the MDR team immediately see which malware variant or other unwanted software is involved. A data breach or other forms of abuse can be prevented with the help of an incident response plan. In this way, the damage is limited and the organization keeps its data and that of its customers safe.