The Danger of Data Breaches

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danger of data breaches

Unexpected data leaks are a cancer to any business. A lot of companies become victims of embarrassing cybersecurity attacks that put in danger their customers and integrity. With data being our most important resource, breaches have been happening with increasing frequency to the largest companies. Some even get caught off-guard by how bad their protection from hackers is and only start paying attention to the problem when it is too late.

danger of data breaches

Proxies are great tools that help us stay anonymous on the internet. There are many proxy types with various functionalities, but a single purpose – protecting your identity on the internet. Check out Smartproxy blog to learn more about different types of proxies and their applications to protect your local network from breaches.

However, if a company that has your sensitive data has suffered a leak, you might be curious where it goes to exactly and what you should know if you were affected. To learn more about this, let’s explore some examples of data breaches. Understanding their severity and the influence on the victims should prepare you for such risks in the future.

CityBee – How a car rental company mishandled 110,000 personal IDs

CityBee is the most popular car rental company in Lithuania, offering comfortable and automated services via a smartphone app. Often seen as a convenient service with more than 2,000 cars throughout the Baltic states and Poland, in February 2021, CityBee has suffered a disgraceful data breach. Due to extremely poor protection, names, e-mails, credit card numbers, decrypted passwords, personal IDs, and driver’s license numbers of 110,000 clients were leaked while the company tried to sweep it under the rug. 

CityBee is a prime example of a business that prioritizes investments for growth instead of ensuring the security of its loyal customers. With leaks appearing on various forums, the company did not inform clients or journalists about this crisis. At the time of writing this article, it appears that CityBee either did not even notice a security breach or it failed to report this crime. While the company keeps digging itself into a hole, Lithuanian police are investigating these allegations.

While communicating with Lithuanian journalists, the hacker behind this leak has revealed an embarrassing nature of this data breach. The backups of this database were kept on a Microsoft Azure Cloud server, and the folder was never made private.

Although it is too early to say, it’s safe to assume that such a severe and disgraceful data leak has destroyed the reputation of a company. To make matters worse, the company shows no attempts to compensate the victims. Clients that suspect that their data has been stolen check their email on community-made websites.

How big companies handle data breaches?

Even companies with hefty security budgets are not invincible to security breaches. Sensitive data of 153 million clients have been leaked from the Adobe database in 2013. Credit bureau Equifax suffered a massive data leak in 2017 when 147 clients lost their personal information to hackers. These massive breaches affect even the most secure businesses and their approach to these crises is what helps them retain the integrity and respect of clients.

A systematic response to a data breach should start with securing physical systems and dismantling affected equipment. If possible, cooperation with persons that discovered the crack in cybersecurity will help to prevent similar attacks in the future. Big companies also hire forensic experts for better evaluation of network safety. 

While the investigation is taking place, clients and journalists get informed about the leak as quickly as possible. Even if it’s unpleasant, the faster a company reaches out to its clients, the more time they have to change passwords and take other preventive measures.

How hackers sell leaked information?

Once a third-party manages to collect information from a breach database, hackers advertise and try to sell them on various forums, usually located on the dark web. Most of them include free data as proof that the leak is legitimate and sell more sensitive information for cryptocurrencies. CityBee leaks have been discovered on such forums before the company informed its clients.

How can you protect yourself from leaks?

The people who suffer from leaks the most are the ones who use the same password for all internet accounts. That makes a job of a hacker much easier, and the damage to an individual is much bigger. 

If your sensitive information ends up on a leaked data list, make sure to create unique passwords for all or at least the main accounts. If the leak contains debit or credit card information, make sure to block and change them. Taking these safety steps at the right time will allow you to mitigate a big portion of potential damage.

Maintain a firm grip on the security of your data

Data is the most important but very sensitive resource that we must protect at all costs. We cannot control the safety conditions of our information in a database of other companies, but we should protect our ways of data transmission. Many proxy types hide our identities on the internet. Using them adds a layer of safety that is used by many businesses but underappreciated by casual users. However, make sure to avoid public proxies and use only legitimate proxy types.

Data protection is important, and we have to be careful and not ignore breaches. If sensitive information is handled by third parties, we should demand better management of our data.