5 Ways Your Customers’ Data Can Be Breached and How to Protect It

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If you want to understand how to protect your customers’ data and the most common threats in 2023, read on.

We’ll dive into five different ways in which cybercriminals can steal your customers’ sensitive information, and then we’ll explore how to avoid these types of attacks.

1.  Phishing attacks

Phishing is, undoubtedly, the most common kind of hacking technique. Just in 2022, there were over 500 million phishing attacks reported, more than double those in 2021.

Hackers can pretend to be organizations or individuals, mass sending emails and prompting people to take action by disclosing their private information or clicking on malicious links.

For example, you can get an email from your bank warning you about a problem with your account and sending you a link to put in your username and password.

This might be a malicious website, and in this case, cybercriminals will be able to steal your sensitive information and use it for anything they want, from ransomware to financial theft.

If you want to protect your customers’ data, educating yourself and your team to recognize the moment you encounter a suspicious email is important.

Even better, set up email filters to block phishing attempts and stay informed on the latest techniques in use. Don’t forget to share the news with your employees when necessary.

2.  Weak or repeated passwords

Believe it or not, hackers thrive on weak passwords. But, what is a weak password?

Simply put, these are easily guessable codes that you use to access your accounts. If you use passwords like “mypassword” or “12345678”, you’re vulnerable to being hacked, and hackers can enter your accounts without your authorization or even knowledge.

This kind of attack can especially damage companies. Weak passwords are the easiest way for hackers to access accounts that hold sensitive information. This, in turn, leads to data breaches, security issues, and theft.

3.  Vulnerabilities in the software

Let’s talk about updating the software.

Although it might seem annoying, it’s very important to do it often. System vulnerabilities can be easily exploited by hackers. At the same time, updates are typically performed to install the latest security patches.

Companies of every size have been harmed when they experience a software vulnerability. These weaknesses lead to service disruption, loss of reputation, and even theft of money or other assets.

4.  The human element

As you’ve seen, most of these threats involve humans failing to protect their accounts. Unfortunately, researchers from Stanford University found that human factor is the main cause of an alarming 88 percent of all data breaches.

In order to avoid this from happening, you can do several things, from restricting access to customers’ data to people with the right credentials to regular audits with the goal of detecting and dealing with unusual behavior.

Plus, training your employees on data security and the consequences of a successful cyberattack is important.

5.  Data breaches

These incidents are pretty common. Basically, it happens when confidential or protected data is disclosed, accessed, or stolen by someone without authorization.

When hackers get hold of this data, they can use it to harm individuals and organizations by disclosing this information to the highest bidder, misusing it, and causing financial losses. Many companies have gone through this unfortunate incident.

Tips and advice on protecting your customers’ data

Aside from addressing these widespread threats, these are some of the things that you can do to safeguard your customers’ data starting today:

  1. Back up the information regularly: make sure to have updated backups of your customers’ data. This way, you can recover in case of a data breach.
  2. Encrypt your data: Use encryption software for all the data to prevent some of these attacks before they happen.
  3. Invest in a VPN: Consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) like Surfshark that will secure and protect your connection and all data transfers. This is particularly important if you’re trying to access your customers’ data remotely.
  4. Minimize the data: You could only collect and store essential data and nothing more. Only the things that are relevant to your business. Less data equals less danger, in this case.
  5. Train your employees: Not everyone knows about cyberthreats and prevention techniques. You have to educate the people that surround you on the best cybersecurity practices.
  6. Privacy policies: Make sure to communicate your privacy policies clearly, and get consent from people if you want to collect and process their data.
  7. Stay informed about the laws: Read about relevant data protection laws and make sure everyone is doing things right.
  8. Create an incident response plan: Some cyberattacks just aren’t preventable. It’s crucial to develop an incident response plan for these cases.

To sum up

In an ever-evolving landscape of cyberthreats and hacking techniques, prioritize protecting your customers. Be proactive and implement different strategies. By following these tips, you will make sure to avoid the most common data breaches at the moment.

Remember, data security isn’t just a “software problem”: it’s something the entire company has to be onboard for. It’s a collective effort.

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