Data breaches have increased since the Data Protection Act was introduced in 2018. 2019 surpassed the number of cases in 2018, and 2020 became another difficult year with many breaches occurring with staff working at home during the pandemic. Below, we explore the common causes and costs associated with data breaches.
By making yourself aware of the common causes of data breaches, you can better equip yourself to avoid them. Weak or stolen passwords are one of the main vulnerabilities – it can be hard to protect yourself from your password being stolen, but a weak password can easily be changed.
Phishing is another common cause for a data breach. This is where hackers will trick you into divulging personal information via an email. Always be alert when an email makes an unusual request.
Malware often allows hackers to gain access to personal data too. Ensure that everyone within the company knows to avoid unknown websites and make sure that they refrain from downloading any unknown software.
The costs associated with a data breach can be difficult for many companies to overcome. For a start, after a data breach, businesses are likely to lose customers due to the loss of trust and confidence. Around a third of UK businesses report that they lost customers following a data breach. And this is a finding that’s confirmed by customers too. Just under half of consumers say that they’ll stop spending temporarily with a business following a data breach. Ultimately, if a company suffers a data breach, then it’s highly likely that a short-term downturn in business will follow.
Largest breaches in recent years
Data breaches don’t just happen to small businesses with little protection. Some of the biggest data breaches over the years make you even more aware of the importance of data protection. Yahoo left 3 billion records compromised in 2014 when they were the victims of a phishing attack. Meanwhile, in 2018, cyber criminals found a vulnerability in Marriot Hotels’ system and managed to extract 383 million records.
Data breaches are becoming more common. There are ways to protect yourself though: stronger passwords, safe downloads and knowing about phishing can lower your risk. But even with the right precautions, even huge companies suffer data breaches – at this stage, you can at least look for data protection breach compensation.