In today’s digital age, data breaches affecting users are too common. The most terrifying aspect of a data breach is its ability to affect millions or even billions of people at once. Infamously, websites and applications such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Yahoo! have all faced cyberattacks leading to the data breaches of millions of users. (CSO United States.)
So, what is a data breach? A data breach is an incident where information is accessed and stolen or taken by a cyber-attacker.
There are three types of data breaches:
1. Physical Breach: involves a physical theft of documents or equipment containing data (i.e., flash drives, computers, POS systems)
2. Electronic Breach: involves a deliberate attack or unauthorized access on a system or network environment where data is stored (i.e., when more than 530 million Facebook users phone numbers and account names were posted for free.) (CSO United States.)
3. Skimming: involves the capture or recording of data onto external hard drives (i.e., an employee using an external device to collect a card’s magnetic stripe data on the stores card system.)
What to do if you are a victim of data breach?
Regardless of the type of data breach, there are steps you can take to regain control of your accounts and information.
Find Out What Was Breached
• The first step is figuring out what data or information was accessed or taken. It could be personal credit card information, company trade secrets, or patient medical information.
Protect the Information
• After you know what information could potentially be at risk, you must make all efforts to protect the information from being further breached. Depending on what was breached, this could be:
o Changing exposed passwords
o Cancelling credit card or freezing your credit
o Enacting cyber security platforms in companies
Contact the Right People
• Once you have done all that you can in protecting your data, it’s important you contact multiple people.
o Banks and credit companies
o Internal Revenue Service or Social Security Administration
o An attorney
Data breach cases involve complex details that vary from case to case. Getting in contact with an experienced attorney can help you navigate your way to cyber safety and hold attackers accountable.