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Reporting a Data Leak: What Steps do You Need to Take?

One of the most haunting news for a company or an individual would be a data leak. Although services like Frontier Internet service or the like allow for easy access to various information around the world it also gives the liberty to hackers to access your private information. 

Here are the steps you need to take in case of a data leak.

Freeze Everything

This should be your first step. When you learn that your data has been leaked and you are aware of the device that was the target as well, you should take the affected devices offline. However, do not confuse this with shutting down the device(s) altogether. You should not do that. Avoid making any changes at this moment as well. 

The primary aim of going offline is to stop any ongoing activity by putting a restriction on communication. This will stop the communication to and from the impacted systems. I repeat, DO NOT make any changes at this point as it might remove clues. 

Find Out the Type of Data Stolen

You also need to look into the type of data stolen. This is important. Because you can cancel or replace stolen credit cards or debit cards. But you cannot obtain a new Social Security Number. And there is a lot that hackers and fraudsters are capable of doing with your SSN. 

The sensitivity of every data breach varies from the other. But it is essential that you know the type. This will help you to sort out your case better.

Change and Strengthen Your Logins and Passwords

You might think that you are late to do so. But better late than never. As soon as you realize that your data was leaked, you need to avoid any further damage from taking place. For this, you will have to make changes to your existing lo=gin IDs as well as your passwords. 

You will also need to change your security questions and answers. Because hackers can do anything. They can get access to all your existing information. Therefore, you need to play it safe and change your existing information. But make sure the new passwords are complex and ones that the hackers may find hard to guess.

Notify the Affected Parties

When a data breach takes place, organizations are able to figure out all parties that were a target of the breach. They get all the information regarding the affected parties. They also get to know about the parties that could be affected. 

Therefore, it is upon those organizations to inform the organizations, third parties or any individuals that are or can be at risk of getting affected. You need to do this as soon as possible. To send a notification, you can make use of any medium including email, phone calls or any other mode that you think is more effective. 

There is a way to go about the notification as well. The organization needs to inform the affected parties about the date of the breach, the next steps that the affected parties need to take and the information that the fraudsters got access to. This will allow the organization to maintain its reputation and integrity.

Determine How?

A very essential step is to determine how the breach happened. It is not enough to just calculate the impact that the breach has or can have on various parties. It is equally important to trace the root cause of the breach. One reason for this is to avoid any such breaches in the future. Another reason is to investigate who could have possibly helped the fraudsters or hackers to leak the information. 

Security Audit

You also need to carry out a security audit in order to determine the ‘how’ part. This step will come after the recovery from the breach. The organization will have to put extra effort into securing its systems. The audit will help the organization to have a look at its current security situation. 

Many companies believe that an IT security check is sufficient to deal with situations like these. They are right to think so. But some organizations are very overconfident about their IT security. And they may think of skipping this step. However, one cannot be sure just of secure or insecure their IT systems are unless they pay a good company for an audit.

The organization should also realize that a regular audit is different from a post data breach audit. Therefore, they should not think about skipping this step. You need to examine your network and server systems, rDNS records, open ports, IP blocks and all the certificates that your organization has for a thorough audit. 

You might also need to change the Internet service provider that you currently work with. My company opts for FiOS Internet only. The experience has been great so far. You can decide on behalf of your organization. 

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