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Leaks and Breaches: The What, How… and Why You Must Protect Yourself!

You read about them in the news, or — you receive notices about them in the mail or on your everyday personal social feed. And no, it’s not […]

You read about them in the news, or — you receive notices about them in the mail or on your everyday personal social feed. And no, it’s not just you: they’re happening more often, and getting more brazen and serious all the time. Large scale data breaches, leaks, and hacking attacks occur multiple times each day. Estimates for major (large-scale, corporate) data leaks ran upwards of 2000 in 2019 — and of course smaller-scale hacks aimed at private users are happening far more often — think more along the lines of 2000 attacks per day.

Leaks can be caused in a wide variety of ways.” Emilio Simoni, Director of Cybersecurity at PSafe’s dfndr lab, notes: “However, the usual result of a breach is that the stolen data is put to use for financial gain or leverage.” 

Common methods of using data for financial gain:

  • Stolen financial-information (like credit card or bank numbers) can immediately yield goods or dollars, and they’re often used quickly to do just that — but, Simoni notes: “Not always immediately, and not always in noticeably large amounts.”
  • Stolen passwords and personal data are used as keys or leverage to gain financial information, or to apply ransoms; 
  • Hijacked / Frozen technology offers another means for criminals to get leverage and ransoms: hackers “lock-out” hard drives or create denials of service for networks from which users must “buy” their way out
  • Stolen email, phone numbers, and social ids are regularly used for scams that prey on the unsuspecting, and often, on the good-natured and helpful — targeting the person and known vulnerabilities of human nature.
  • Identity theft — the use of detailed personal information to open new credit accounts and / or steal from established accounts. 

 

Practically speaking, leaks occur in a variety of ways — some quite technical, and some not very technical at all:

  • Credentials that are stolen or insecure: As noted above, credentials can sometimes be the treasure that gets robbed, and leveraged later. Of course, they can also provide the path in for the thieves. The number of data breaches caused by weak passwords, like passwords or last names or birth dates is…way too many!
  • Unhappy (or careless) employees: Both can be devastating, and as you might guess, in corporate settings there are usually plenty of both. This is why companies have to plan for the possibility that their personnel can go rogue..or just inattentive. No good security policy relies entirely on the integrity and personal conduct of human resources — but unfortunately, far too many do.
  • Vulnerable softwares: Commercial and enterprise software is designed to be safe — but hackers are ever watchful, and tirelessly work to find and exploit software vulnerabilities. 
  • Real world vulnerabilities: Hard drives and devices of every kind are smaller than ever, hold more information than ever, and they’re more portable than ever: that means physical compromises and seizures are an increasing threat.

Yes, you’re at risk. But here’s how you can protect yourself.

Good “hygiene” with your digital devices means committing to the following:

First, make sure you use strong passwords — and use only one password for each app or site that requires one.  Stay vigilant, and if a site or app is compromised, change your password immediately!

Next, try to install only the apps that you really need and use. Loading up your device with three or four apps for every purpose is a dodgy game. Whenever in doubt, go with a leader in the space, or look for apps from developers you already know and trust.  Do a little background checking and make sure that cool new app is coming from a known and trusted provider.

Finally, make sure you have a full-spectrum security solution on your devices:

An excellent way to protect yourself is to use a security application like dfndr security Pro, which covers your data and your device. 

For app security, dfndr security Pro features a dedicated Safe App Installer that can tell you if the app you’re about to install has been identified as malware.  This is exactly what the Safe App Installer does: it AUTOMATICALLY protects you from malware and apps known to compromise your data — before you even install them.

There are four additional features dfndr security Pro offers to protect you:

Anti-theft protection: This feature protects against physical loss that (frequently) also leads to data loss: in case of theft or loss of your device, you can lock it down remotely, find the phone on a map; or, activate a loud alarm to find it nearby. You can also get a picture of the thief, and wipe the phone of your personal data.

App Privacy Scan: You can locate on a map where your app data is going and how it might be used by third-parties.

Unlimited Identity Theft Reports: These reports provide “perimeter defense,” looking out for privacy vulnerabilities beyond your own device. These reports reveal if any of your information has been leaked, with a one-click check of a database with over 4 billion compromised credentials. 

Ad-Free: As an extra bonus, dfndr security Pro is totally ad-free.

Data breaches will continue to occur on both the large and small scale. As Emilio Simoni remarks: “Unfortunately, hackers never take the day off. That’s why our software doesn’t either.” We hope you’ll consider dfndr Pro as your best line of defense to protect your devices and personal data. 

Get The Protection You Need Today

Click here to try dfndr security and put all of these features to work securing your phone, your data, and your digital life. dfndr security offers a full suite of protection, constantly updated, to make sure “you’re safe out there.”