Some businesses believe that they don't need to worry about getting hacked because they have nothing of value to be stolen. However, this mindset is what’s pushing hackers further into stealing data from them. And most of the time, business owners would only take action after they've already been hit by a cyberattack.
What types of data do hackers look for?
There are various types of information that hackers can steal from your business. Make sure you're protecting these in particular:
1. Personal data
This includes Social Security numbers, financial information, birth dates, and other sensitive personal data. To hackers, these are quite valuable; in 2019 alone, there were 13 million recorded identity theft incidents.
While passport information sells for the most amount of money, Social Security numbers are the most valuable to hackers, as these can be used for tax fraud, opening credit accounts, and other malicious activities. Your business may not collect Social Security numbers from your clients, but their financial data may be easily stolen.
2. Digital infrastructure
Hackers are aware of the high costs of a proper IT infrastructure, so they will resort to stealing another business’s IT system to save money. Potential indicators of such an attack include network slowdowns, rapid decrease of storage space, and unknown devices connecting to your network. Over time, this will result in additional costs and lower business productivity.
3. Corporate accounts
Hackers can also steal your employees' corporate account data through phishing and malware attacks. They can use the information to solicit personal and financial information from your customers, conduct business email compromise attacks, disrupt your operations, or steal...
4. Intellectual property (IP)
Your IP is one of the most important aspects of your business. Without it, you won’t be able to offer something unique to your customers and stand out from the competition.
This is exactly why hackers might want to steal your IP. If they get their hands on your confidential data, they might sell it in the black market and expose your company's business plans, product ideas, and the like.
For instance, a hacking group called the Advanced Persistent Threat 10 attacked the networks of more than 45 technology companies and government agencies in the United States to steal sensitive information regarding new and developing technologies. Two hackers from the group were indicted for conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft.
How can you protect your data?
Here are some ways you can protect your data from unauthorized access:
1. Implement multifactor authentication (MFA)
MFA strengthens your cybersecurity by requiring additional authentication factors such as time-based SMS codes, smartphone notifications, or facial or fingerprint scans. Even if cybercriminals steal an employee’s login credentials, they won’t be able to access the account without completing the succeeding authentication steps.
2. Promote good password hygiene
This involves requiring all staff to understand the importance of setting strong and unique passwords for their accounts. Passwords should have at least 12 characters with a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid using birthdays and pet names, as these can be easily guessed. Instead, try passphrases such as “stronglycushy95amperagetricycle!” or “manicuredarkish77stylingafternoon?”.
3. Limit employee access to sensitive data
Access management technologies such as Azure Information Protection (AIP) and Microsoft Intune can help you prevent employees from accessing unauthorized data. AIP classifies data based on sensitivity for better control over access privileges, while Intune allows businesses to regulate the mobile devices that employees use to access corporate data and applications.
4. Use a data breach monitoring service
Sites like haveibeenpwned lets you see if any corporate emails have been breached.
Have experts monitor the dark web to see if any sensitive information is showing up on restricted forums.
You can also partner with a reliable managed IT service provider like INFINIT Consulting. We provide robust protection for your business network and data. What’s more, we will empower your organization to be more efficient and productive. To learn more about our services, download our FREE eBook and schedule a meeting with us today.