Often, we hear about data breaches but don’t bother to understand them in detail. We shrug shoulders and continue with our work rather than thinking how they happened and what are the consequences? We consider it irrelevant as we are safe. This attitude of ours is dangerous not only for us but for our organization too.
Ignorance is bliss but not when our sensitive information can be at risk. If you are safe today that doesn’t mean things will remain same forever. You can be the next target, no one is safe in this world where cyber-attacks are predominant.
Instead of being carefree, we should ask the following possible questions
- What made the attack possible?
- What made hackers get their hands on large number of data?
- What safety measures should have been taken to avoid such attacks and to prevent information leak?
- What precautions should have been in place keeping zero-day vulnerability in mind?
- Is the company prepared to stop such attacks?
The list doesn’t end here number of questions are infinite, but nothing is going to change until an appropriate answer is found. Organization need to be attentive and should take cautionary steps before anything wrong happens. They need to learn from the mistakes of Equifax, the devastating data breach attack of 2017. Still people are in anguish because of the attack and it seems the suffering won’t end soon.
How Equifax data attack took place?
According to the reports, a bug in the Apache Struts application (an open-source web server software) was responsible for the data leak. The application was providing a programming framework for building Java based web applications that enabled the attacker to get in the system by taking advantage of the vulnerability, but do you think that a single point of failure should be able to compromise 143 million records?
How to stay protected?
By asking questions alone you cannot be secure. To be safe you need to first understand importance of user data and why is it at risk.
User data as we all know is the most sensitive data, it contains individuals Social Security number, Credit/Debit card details, Banking information, Passwords. These details reveal all about him and if bad guys have their hands on such data then you can imagine what harm they can cause. One can be a victim to identity theft, stealing of money can also take place.
To avoid all this from happening you need to learn from past mistakes that other companies made.
Moreover, to cope with technological advancement companies are creating new products and services without taking necessary security measures. Thus, helping hackers to access sensitive data by exploiting the vulnerabilities left in new products.
Also Read: How to Be Sure a File Is Safe to Download
- Detect Invasion
No data is 100% secure there are chances of failure in protection. But if companies monitor website activities they can know when protection fails. Hacking bulk data in a go is not possible, if companies use right tools then they can easily detect a data breach when it starts taking place. Data access is of paramount concern therefore all data access should be scrutinized.
Network analytics should be used to keep a check on unusual network activity as it helps to identify any unfamiliar activity. Plus, behavioral analytics should be used to detect any vulnerability based on the working of a web application. In case of Equifax if behavioral analytics would be used there would have been a detection based on rare access pattern.
To stay protected you not only need to know what detection capability failed but you need to understand what measures should have been in place that would detect the attack.
- Respond to data breach
After learning about a breach, right message should be conveyed. There is no sense hiding the information as it will further victimize the sufferers. Organizations should be ready with proactive plans in worst case scenarios to address the issue. Whether it is a technical attack or application vulnerability all should be handled in an organized manner.
The Equifax attack is a wake up and we all should learn from it. Professionals should stop blaming others and should take corrective measures to safeguard their organizations.
What companies can learn from devastating data breaches?
- Spend Smarter: Review your security budget and spend more on fixing vulnerabilities, creating secure web applications and products.
- Be aware of what’s happening: check if you have all the latest security tools inline and monitor all your applications to see no one is trying to breach your website. You can’t stop unknown threats therefore monitoring helps you to stay safe.
- Be prepared: Equifax attacks and others have given us a clear picture of how things can go wrong. We need to learn from them and stop making excuses if we don’t want to find ourselves in the same boat as Equifax.
- Apply the security patch in time: Use your knowledge and put the security patch in place to avoid hackers from exploiting any vulnerability found in the application or website.
To stay safe organization, need to learn from the past mistakes. Equifax attack is the worst nightmare any company would like to face. Don’t let your business sail in the same both with Equifax. Make sure you make strategies in compliance with latest security techniques to keep hackers at bay. By just applying security measures if you think you can be safe then it is not completely true. Organizations need to monitor them and keep them updated with the security patches released for any vulnerability.
Hope you find it informative and will try to learn from history so that won’t make any mistakes. If you have any thoughts to share on the same do let us know.