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What Happens in A Data Breach?

Like every new year, 2023 has brought new hopes with it. You, like many other people, may have various resolutions planned for ahead. It may be getting in shape, buying a car, finding your life partner, or switching your career. However, if you are more like me, online data security and protection might concern you.


With the online world slowly taking over our lives, it is becoming essential to understand how it works. For instance, you may have various social media accounts, where you post and share your thoughts with friends and family. Have you ever thought that anything you post there, such as a picture, video, or status, stays there forever? Doesn’t that sound creepy?


It’s like someone is constantly filming you and keeping the recording in some place locked, out of your reach. Even if you get it deleted, there is a backup, there’s always a backup and that’s what concerns most people. Leaving the online world isn’t an option as the world revolves around it. However, taking precautions and learning how to keep your data safe online is what you should do.


Data is the next big thing! You have to be quite cautious of where you add your personal information and how it will be used. Companies today feed on user data as it helps them create a pattern that comes in handy to get to know people better. Even the online platforms you trust are not so smart to keep your data safe.


Hackers, online snoopers, and cybercriminals are constantly coming up with new ways to steal your online data. You don’t have to be someone popular or even wealthy to gain hackers’ attention. You are a target anyway if you have data stored online. The best thing to do is to constantly check all the websites where you’ve created your accounts to see if they have been breached with a successful cyber-attack.


There are different ways to protect your online data, such as you can use a VPN to surf the internet privately and hide from hackers. However, a VPN requires fast internet speeds to work smoothly. Have a look at these TV and internet packages to ensure your VPN works flawlessly. This and many other habits are necessary to ensure a safe browsing experience on the web for any user.

What Do Cyber Attackers Want with You?

There’s not one answer as to why hackers want to get their hands on your data. It may vary what they want from you though. Before understanding what a hacker wants from you, it is crucial to know that data of any type is critically important for various purposes.


To give you an idea, hackers can exploit data to get more information from you that can be of ANY use to them. They can then rely on this data to make more educated guesses and decisions for any time in the future, or simply sell it.


Moreover, cybercriminals may hack your data and hold on to it, but not permanently. They may ask you for ransomware in order to give it back to you. This technique is called holding data ransom, and it has been seen a lot these days. Hackers can hack into any website, application, or portal they want and ask for money to release the data they hold on to.


Your online competitor may hire hackers to hurt your website. This technique is used to wipe out the competition and has been practiced a lot these days. If a website holds its customer’s data and suffers from a data-breach attempt, things might not end well.


In addition, the excessive online data regarding your finances is also the major reason why hackers are interested. Today, banking apps have made our lives easier by allowing us to send and receive money online in seconds. Hackers can hack their way into such apps and steal your credentials.


This is why the internet is a scary place to be. However, with the right habits, tips, and tricks you can ensure to stay safe on the internet. The Internet has become a necessity for our daily tasks, but being cautious doesn’t hurt in staying protected from hackers.

What Happens If the Data Is Stolen?

Breaking into a company and getting a hold of the customer’s data physically or hacking it online is the same thing. The only difference is that the hackers are caught in very minimum cases, which gives them more freedom to continue doing what they do.


However, cybercriminals hacking into the customer list don’t often find any crucial data. All they get hold of is the customer’s name, phone number, email, and address. They can sell such information to different data brokers and aggregators for the right price.


It is also possible that hackers find your credit card number on any such websites. However, it may not be a big worry as the Payment Card Industry Data Security (PCI-DSS) protocol states that credit card security is quite detailed and mostly works if the websites have followed all the rules.


Websites and other online merchants are supposed to protect your credit card information. Some of them do a fine job and keep your data encrypted without even storing and knowing your password. However, if a certain website does store your password with no security, it will surely be exposed to a breach and you will subsequently lose control of that account.


Depending on what type of website is exposed, the hackers can place orders, send emails, make bank transfers all in your name, and lock you out of your account by changing the password.


On top of that, if you use the same password for all your accounts, things could get worse. Hackers know that people often use one password to log in to their multiple accounts, and once they get the hold of that password, they try running it on multiple popular websites and platforms.


Also, if they hack into your email account, the standard password reset mechanism can be used to hack your other online accounts as well. This is why any breach that ends up exposing your password can be escalated pretty quickly to become a full-scale identity theft.

How do Databases Get Hijacked?

On asking people how they wonder the hackers gain access to highly encrypted databases, the answers were usually the same. Most people think that a dark hooded figure working on multiple monitor screens with thousands of lines of code that looks like gibberish hacks a database. Hacking of this level indeed happens, but it takes so much less for hackers to hack into accounts.


They can simply use the previous data thefts to find the usernames and passwords of a wide range of users to commence a process known as credential stuffing. It is quite straightforward as a hacker uses a script and works with thousands of user credentials and combinations to find a successful key to log in successfully.


Endless attempts are made to successfully guess the right password to open up a password-protected account. However, it does not take very long to succeed as thousands of combinations are tried against each account. If an online thief can unlock even one account using this technique, he did well.

What Can You Do After a Data Breach?

You should be paying attention to all the websites, applications, and platforms where you have created your accounts. Actively looking if an entity that you have your account with is breached will warn you to follow the necessary steps in recovering your data.


Hearing and passing on the news of a successful data breach on various companies is easy. Although you must look if you had your accounts with the affected company. Taking relevant measures to secure the data is smart and the best thing to do instead of panicking and doing nothing.


The company that is breached should inform its customers about it. However, it is understandable that confirming a data breach news to the public can be embarrassing. Yet, if you find out that your data was also affected by the breach, get on your toes and start working to secure it before it’s too late. Ensure to be connected to the fast internet as you can’t afford to lose any time. We recommend Clearwave fiber internet, thanks to its ultra-fast speeds.


The first thing you should do is change the password of the account that you had with that breached company. It is not important to confirm if your account was exposed, just get it done. It is better than doing absolutely nothing after a data breach. This time, create a password with numbers, upper and lower case letters, and special characters, to ensure it is extremely tough to guess.


That’s not all! Recall if you ever used the previous password on any other accounts. If you did, ensure to change it from everywhere as soon as you can. Remember that time is money here, the fast you act the better chances you have to get ahead of the hackers.


Also, always ensure to enable multi-factor authentication. It makes it extremely tough for a hacker to access your password-protected accounts. In case a hacker does get your password right, he will be asked to enter a code to verify if it’s you who’s trying to log in.


As soon as you get the verification code, know that someone is trying to get access to your accounts. However, if the hacker does not have the code, your account will stay protected as a password without a multi-factor code is useless.

How to Stay Protected Against Data Breaches

From credential-stuffing software to high-level hacking, you need to ensure that all your online accounts are protected from any type of data breach. You should always start by creating a password that is complicated to remember.


If you can actually remember the password easily, it means that it’s not strong enough and that is a problem. It is important to use a password manager as it can create strong passwords for your multiple accounts and even remembers them.


Ensure to choose the password manager with zero-knowledge security. It means that no one can open your password-protected accounts, not even the password company itself, its employees, hackers, or even NSA. A password manager even identifies your weak passwords so you can exchange them with strong ones.


As mentioned earlier, your passwords should be complicated enough so that they cannot be guessed during credential stuffing. Enabling multi-factor authentication helps ensure that even if someone predicts your password right, they can’t do anything without a secret security code that will only be sent to you.


Shopping websites and the like can’t expose much of your personal data as they don’t have a lot of it in the first place. If, however, you have your credit card information saved on them, it is suggested to wipe it out if there’s a choice. Even better, you have the password manager fill out such information as needed.


Other than cutting off all the ties with the digital world, there is no way you can prevent your data from being scattered all over the web. Many websites holding onto your data are not so good at keeping it safe, which is why the breaches happen. So, you must always take various security measures yourself to your data from getting into the wrong hands.

Wrapping Up!

Cybercriminals are actively working to land successful data breaches on various online platforms in 2023. You must take all the necessary precautions to protect your crucial and sensitive data on the web. Even your ISP can see what you do and collect your data to sell it to other third parties on the web. Nevertheless, subscribing to the best internet service provider will ensure that it won’t happen to you.