How to Detect a Data Breach 

27th February 2020

Almost all data, in one way or another, has been breached. While it often goes unnoticed, data breaches can have severe implications, especially for businesses. Within hours of a cyberattack, the majority of sensitive data is compromised. Since it usually takes much longer than this to detect the breach, it can be too late to protect your information. 

The implications may be more severe for businesses, as they store highly sensitive employee, client, and personal data. This data may include bank account information, passwords, contact details, and a variety of other records. That said, even your own devices likely contain details that could compromise your finances and personal identity. 

Understanding the common behaviors of your networks will allow you to identify abnormalities and detect data breaches before they get too far. 

Common indicators of a data breach

With so many types of viruses, scams, ransomware, and more out there, it can seem impossible to know which red flags indict a data breach. While each cyberattack looks slightly different, there are some common indicators that something’s not right. Some clues that may indicate a breach in your network include:

  • Odd login times
  • Slow operating speeds
  • Heavy traffic that isn’t being caused by you 
  • Your device restarting unexpectedly
  • Anti-virus or other security programs not functioning properly 
  • Unknown devices on your network
  • Newly created users with full admin privileges
  • Repeated failed login attempts

These are just a few of the indicators that you may have a data breach on your hands. If you’ve got the technical knowhow, you can check if any unusual IP addresses are present or if any new ports are open on the firewall. 

Where you may be vulnerable

Prevention is the most crucial step that you can take to protect your data from a cyberattack. Assessing your current systems to see where they may be vulnerable will help you to put proper cybersecurity in place. 

The most common vulnerability that will expose you to a cyberattack is outdated software. Often hackers find ways to infiltrate your anti-virus or other software systems. Often, software companies will identify the issues and provide updates that prevent future attacks. If you don’t regularly install updates, you may leave yourself exposed. 

Another common factor that leaves you vulnerable to a data breach is uneducated staff. It’s vital that you provide awareness training to all your staff members so that they can identify potential threats. Often, even if you have a reliable anti-virus program, hackers can enter your network due to staff negligence. It could be as simple as them clicking on a pop-up or spam email. 

Bring in the professionals

Cybersecurity is no laughing matter. In  order to ensure the complete safety of your sensitive data, it’s best to rely on the professionals. While you may be able to install an anti-virus, an IT expert can analyze your current cybersecurity system and identify any areas where you may be vulnerable. Not only can IT consultants spot any red flags, but they will also be able to help if a data breach occurs. 

If you notice any abnormalities in your network, it’s best to contact the professionals straight away so they can prevent any further damages or data theft. 

Corey is an all round tech guru who has worked at some major blue chip companies. He started Poweronemedia to share his views and knowledge with the rest of the blogging world.