The Most Important Things NOT to do After a Data Breach
In the past few years, the number of data breaches has seen a significant increase. Just last year, we saw breaches that compromised hundreds of millions of online accounts, personal information of users and their payment card numbers. Most privacy blogs and security-oriented sites provide you with detailed guides on what to do if something like this happens. On the other hand, there is little to no information about the things you shouldn’t do when exposed to a data breach. That’s why, in this week’s Zlog, we want to go in a different direction than most online privacy sites and talk about what are the most important things not to do after a data breach.
How do Data Breaches Happen?
In case you’re reading this before you’ve experienced a data breach, knowing how one can happen can be a very useful way to prevent it. Here are the four most typical ways of how a data breach can occur:
- Weak Passwords – Weak and insecure passwords are by far the number one cause of security breaches. They are simple to guess for the attacker, especially if they include a specific phrase or personally-related words. Stronger passwords might be more difficult to remember, but can also be a deciding factor if your data will get breached or not.
- System Vulnerabilities – Out of date software can also often leaves security holes through which the hacker can infiltrate your computer and infect it with malware.
- Unintentional Downloads – While this is less likely to happen nowadays, it can still occur in some cases. That’s why we recommend you don’t visit any unfamiliar or untrusted sites.
- Targeted attacks – Of course, sometimes no matter what you do, you can be a victim of a directly targeted attack. This can range from simple phishing email scams to entire websites created with the main purpose of infecting the user’s computer with malware.
Don’t Panic Immediately After a Data Breach
The first thing you should remember not to do after a data breach is panic. Keeping a cool and composed head can be of a lot of help in the first minutes or hours after a data breach. With this in mind, you should also have a plan you can act on immediately after you find out about the breach. A great way to plan for this is to know exactly what you need to restore. Have an emergency restore plan centered around the data, apps and system information you would want to secure first if your data gets breached.
Don’t Try to Sweep Things under the Rug
This is probably the most obvious piece of advice we’ll share with you on this page but at the same time the most important one. Don’t ignore the attack just because it didn’t immediately produce any apparent damage. Don’t stop until you find out just how damaging are the possible consequences of the breach.
Put your time into researching what happened and try to find out just how deep is the damage left by the data breach. If you’re just a casual online user and not an online company, you likely don’t have the budget to dig deeper into the details. However, you can still find out where, when and why the incident occurred and this can go a long way into preventing it from happening in the future.
Don’t Forget to Notify Everyone Affected by the Breach
No matter if you work for an organization or have simply shared a malware-infected email or site with one of your friends, you should notify everyone you think may have been affected by the breach as soon as you find about it. Give them information on what could have caused it, when you think it happened and all other relevant details that could help them act accordingly.
Don’t Leave Your Privacy to Chance in the Future
We have all heard by the old proverb “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” After dealing with the possible repercussions of a data breach, making sure that it doesn’t happen in the future should be the next thing you do. The main takeaway is not to forget to protect your online privacy and security. Data breaches can happen to anyone at any time, but luckily there are certain things you can to minimize the chance of them happening to you. One of the best ways to maximize your online privacy and safety is to use a VPN service and reliable antivirus software.