How to Recover from a Cybersecurity Breach and Future Prevention

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Introduction

The damage to a company that can be sustained by a security breach can have enormous consequences, it is one of those situations where prevention at all costs is far better than having to deal with repairing the damage afterwards. One common cybersecurity breach is those caused by unsecured remote desktop software, so make sure to use a well-known remote desktop software that would ensure your security. This article will serve to educate readers on the types of data security breaches, how to minimize the damage caused by them and how to prevent the likelihood of them occurring.

What is a Security Breach?

A data security breach refers to any unauthorized access and public release of private and confidential information. Typically the hacker will make a copy of the information for their own devious purposes, but they may erase or otherwise make the information irretrievable to the company in possession of it. The type of information breached greatly depends on the organization, but may include details such as credit card numbers, customer information or trade secrets

How do Security Breaches Occur?

There are several methods that hackers use to exploit weaknesses in corporate networks, the most common ways will be described:

  • Using weak passwords – This is the single most common way that hackers can gain access to company networks.
  • Human error – This could be the act of writing down a password and leaving the paper lying around, sharing account details with others, sending an email to the incorrect recipient, sensitive paperwork being discarded carelessly, etc.
  • Leaving system vulnerabilities unresolved – using out of date software or software with known vulnerabilities that are left unresolved can provide hackers with an easy way to gain access to sensitive information. A well-known example of this is the Windows 2000 ME operating system. This software allowed users to bypass the login password which is a serious security risk, it would be foolish to continue using such software after the vulnerability had been exposed.
  • Malware – There are many ways that hackers can fool users into unintentionally installing malware, such as through email. Malware can also be used to target users if they are connected to an unsecured public Wi-Fi network.
  • Targeting through an affiliated company – Hackers may target a smaller company is affiliated to a larger company, with the aim of breaching information from the larger company. Hackers assume that smaller companies will not have the budget or experience to have adequate network security, and use this as a means to access data from the larger company.
  • Ransomware – This is typically used against larger companies. Hackers may encrypt the databases of the target and demand a ransom to ensure the decryption and access of the sensitive information. There is by no means any guarantee that paying the ransom will ensure the hackers will honor their promise of decrypting the information.

What to do in the event of a data breach

If your company’s information has been breached, it is best to respond to the attack immediately and effectively; this will reduce the damage caused. The following steps will help with minimizing the negative consequences of the breach:

  • Don’t panic about the situation – If you panic and make hasty decisions, you make deal even more damage. The first step is to assemble a group of people with the proper experience and skills in dealing with this kind of issue; these experts will formulate a plan on how best to handle the crisis. This plan must include tracing where the breach came from, and how to secure the vulnerability. If there are legal ramifications caused by the breach, it would be best to consult with a lawyer to deal with those particular issues.
  • Contain the breach – Once the source of the breach has been found, it must be stopped and contained properly, this will ensure that the breach will not extended to other company departments and resources. It is advisable to change all email account passwords, user login passwords, backup and remove sensitive information from the company databases, and disable access to the network as far as possible.
  • Identify the severity of the breach – Some data breach attacks are more serious and severe than others, and identifying how severe the impact is will determine your next course of action. For example, if client information has been stolen, how could it be used against those clients, or against the company itself? It is important to notify any clients or customers of the breach, so that they may take measures to protect themselves by changing passwords or blocking suspicious email activity. If credit card data has been stolen, it is important to notify the relevant banks to trace any suspicious activity.
  • Prevention of further breaches – If you have suffered a data security breach, you will most definitely not want such a situation to happen again. If it becomes a regular occurrence, you will lose the trust of your clients and partners which can be devastating to your business. If you feel unable to handle remedying the breach yourself, it is advisable to consult with security experts to implement a rock solid and reliable security solution for your company.

Protecting your Company

There are several ways you can reduce security vulnerabilities in your company:

  • Train your employees to use secure passwords and to be observant of suspicious looking emails. It is good practice to enforce scheduled password changes on a regular basis.
  • All data stored on company databases should be secure, whether it is actively being used or not. Any confidential paperwork should be shredded before being thrown away.
  • It is advisable to only allow designated IP addresses to access the company network, this will eliminate the possibility of any unauthorized devices from gaining access to sensitive information. Companies should not allow unsecured devices to access the network.
  • Monitoring and restricting the network traffic of data where necessary through the company will prevent any information from being misused.
  • Identify and fix any vulnerabilities that are found in the company’s network or devices, it is best to fix any issues timeously.
  • Using two-factor authentication will greatly enhance the security of user accounts.
  • Restrict the downloading of sensitive information only to the users who have the authority to do so.

It is best to have a data recovery plan in place, so that in the event of a breach happening, there is a solution that can be executed quickly and this will greatly limit the damage caused.

2 Replies to “How to Recover from a Cybersecurity Breach and Future Prevention”

  1. This would really handy when it comes to small business who shifted to Remote work because of the ongoing pandemic. Good article read.

  2. A security breach can stay unknown for years in small companies. So the best way is to block everything that can be blocked from employee usage, totally isolate sensitive data, and of course, use a well-known reputable antivirus system.

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