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For many years now, data has been a critical part of every organization. Criminals have been sharpening their tools to breach companies’ cybersecurity to get a hold of sensitive data.

What is a data breach?

A data breach occurs when a cybercriminal is able to infiltrate a data source and acquire sensitive information, either done physically by accessing a computer or a network and steal the information or compromising a network security remotely. The latter is the one often used to target companies.

What are types of data breaches?

  1. Phishing. This refers to attempts to extract information from users by presenting itself as something official. This could be an email message that looks like an official message from your bank asking you to update your information.
  2. Password attacks. Cybercriminals run programs that would try multiple passwords until they are able to access your accounts. Such attacks can successfully crack unsecure passwords.
  3. Malware. The word “malware” is the general term used to refer to any virus. Worms and Trojans are among the best-known malwares. To keep them from infiltrating systems, risk management firms advise against clicking links and opening attachments from unrecognized sources.
  4. Ransomware. This type of breach is becoming popular recently, especially in law firms and hospitals. Cybercriminals, after gaining access to the network or website, will shut it down and lock it from all functionalities. After which, the criminals will ask for ransom for the access and the information gained.
  5. Denial of Service. This breach happens when the attackers or hackers attempt to prevent legitimate users from accessing a network, account, or service. It is done by flooding the users with useless and invalid authentication requests, resulting in the network to eventually crash.

How does a company become vulnerable to data breaches?

  • Employees. Insider threat remains to be on top of the list of security risks, partially because it is much easier for those who already have access to data to abuse it. Unhappy employees and those who have recently separated from the company are potential threats to data security. Employers must employ protocols that will minimize internal attacks and immediately deactivate separated employees’ login credentials. Employees who are careless and uninformed are equally dangerous.
  • Cloud Storage Apps. While it is a modern and convenient way to store data, cloud systems are vulnerable to breaches. To minimize risk, choose a reputable cloud storage company that uses data encryption.
  • Mobile Devices. When employees are allowed to bring and use their own mobile devices at work, it is a lot more difficult to control security, passwords, downloads, and other activities. Companies that allow employees to sue their own mobile device must have a comprehensive written policy in terms of expectations, liabilities, and limitations.
  • Third Party Service Providers. Outsourcing can be convenient and cost-effective, but it also leaves your company susceptible to cyber attacks and data breaches, especially if your service provider uses low-security methods. To minimize risk, choose a reputable third party service provider; have them specify in the contract their security procedures and the assumption of liability in case of a data breach in their system.

Contact us at Hogan Injury for expert legal advice.

None of the content on is legal advice nor is it a replacement for advice from a certified lawyer. Please consult a legal professional for further information.

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