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What is a Data Breach and How It Can Be Cured? (Part 1)

In the age of the digital world, cyber threats and vulnerabilities have gained the attention of security leaders as well as countries across the globe. The issue of cyber warfare is no longer limited to organizations. Rather, even state-sponsored cyber-attacks are being organized and launched against enemy states.  Reuters news agency in the UK reported that the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace discovered that cyber-attacks on financial institutions are increasingly being linked to nation-states and the damages were disruptive and destructive, rather than just theft. The majority of nation-state attackers belonged to North Korea, China, Iran, and Russia.

What is Data Breach?

A data breach or a data leak is a security incident in which a sensitive, private, or protected data is released and accessed by unauthorized people. Thousands of data breaches occur every year that result in losing billions of dollars and harming the reputation of the affected identities such as individuals, organizations, governments, military, or even states.

In December 2019, Forbes reports that Microsoft data breach results in compromising the login credentials of 44 million Microsoft uses.

Why Data Breach Occurs?  

One of the biggest reasons for a data breach is the poor cybersecurity posture. Since the data breach can be deliberate or accidental, insider threats such as disgruntled employees can also be a cause of data breach. Examples of an accidental data breach may include the use of vulnerable Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) to the secure corporate network.

Most data breaches occur through social engineering attacks such as phishing, targeted malware attacks, drive-by downloads (unintentionally download a virus or malware), weak passwords, and exploiting systems’ vulnerabilities.

List of Some Biggest Data Breaches

Data breaches are so common that even the latest security suites are unable to prevent data breaches altogether, though limit them to a large extent. Below is the list of some biggest data breaches that cause a massive loss to victims:

  1. Yahoo data breach causes a loss of 3 billion and attackers compromised 1 billion accounts.
  2. Aadhaar data breach triggered a loss of 1.1 billion and cybercriminals exploited the data of more than one billion Indian citizens.
  3. Verifications.io scam is also notorious and resulted in a loss of 763 million. In fact, verification.io is an E-mail address validation service that failed to prevent the exposure of 763 million records into a MongoDB instance that was left publically facing with no passwords.
  4. Marriott/Starwood international is a hotel that announced that the data of their 500 million customers were stolen by hackers. They gained unauthorized access to the systems and later on performed their malicious attempt.
  5. MySpace databreach results in a loss of 360 million accounts. The attack was launched by the Russian hackers

To be continued to Part 2

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