You may have heard of cybersecurity horror stories from big brands such as Twitter and LinkedIn.
From hundreds of thousands of dollars in Bitcoin being stolen to data from 700 million users being sold on the dark web, respectively, you would think that these established enterprises have their cybersecurity measures down to a science. But even large, well-known brands aren’t protected without the proper measures.
Whether it’s employee oversight or not the right security measures in place, cyber-attacks can happen at any time.
In this article, we’ll share all you need to know about enterprise cybersecurity, including top examples of enterprise data breaches and best practices your company can follow to ensure your network is safe from potential threats.
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What Is Enterprise Cybersecurity?
Enterprise cybersecurity is the practice of protecting your company data that is stored in your organization’s network and computers.
Enterprise cybersecurity defends your data by detecting your system’s vulnerabilities or weaknesses at an early stage, preventing cyber attacks and responding quickly to security breaches when they occur.
In addition to protecting your company from hackers, data theft and unauthorized access, enterprise cybersecurity is also about safeguarding your company from both intentional and accidental employee security breaches.
Why Is Enterprise Cybersecurity Important?
Enterprise cybersecurity secures your business from cyber attacks such as phishing, hacking, data theft and cyber fraud.
For example, if your company’s data is leaked, confidential information regarding your finances, along with employee and customer data could be public for anyone and everyone to view.
This could lead to financial losses, a damaged brand reputation and even lawsuits filed by your employees, customers or stakeholders.
7 Famous Enterprise Data Breaches
From a sensitive consumer data leak to a Bitcoin heist, here are seven examples of enterprise data breaches that will likely persuade you to consider securing your company’s data.
- Date: August 2013 and December 2014
- Data breach that occurred: Hackers accessed Yahoo!’s customer information
- Number of users affected: 3 billion Yahoo! users
In August 2013, a group of hackers accessed confidential information from 3 billion Yahoo! accounts.
While the attackers gained access to users’ security questions and answers, credit card data wasn’t stolen.
In December 2014, another data breach occurred, where hackers obtained usernames, phone numbers, passwords and birth dates of 500 million Yahoo! accounts, then sold the information on the dark web.
During this series of data breaches, Yahoo! was being acquired by Verizon. While the acquisition pushed through and was completed in 2017, the price was reduced to $4.5 billion from $4.83 billion.
- Date: November 2019
- Data breach that occurred: A software developer scraped consumer data
- Number of users affected: 1.1 billion pieces of data
A software developer from a Chinese eCommerce website, Taobao, used a crawler software he created to scrape 1.1 billion pieces of customer data such as usernames, testimonials and phone numbers from Alibaba.
Data scraping is a type of data theft where the hacker extracts information from a website onto their personal computer.
While the gathered data wasn’t sold on the black market or dark web, the hacker and his employer used the information for their personal gain.
The cyber criminals were fined £49, 848 and sentenced to three years in prison.
- Date: June 2021
- Data breach that occurred: A hacker tried to sell LinkedIn users’ data on the dark web
- Number of users affected: 700 million LinkedIn users
In June 2021, a hacker posted stolen data from 700 million LinkedIn users on the dark web. He was trying to sell it for $5,000.
The hacker that goes by the moniker of “God User” scraped data including full names, phone numbers, email addresses, personal and professional backgrounds, genders and geolocation records from LinkedIn’s website by exploiting the site’s Application Programming Interface (API).
4. Marriott International
- Date: September 2018
- Data breach that occurred: Hackers exposed guests’ personal information
- Number of users affected: 5.2 million guests
In September 2018, Marriott International experienced a security breach where sensitive details such as names, phone numbers, arrival and departure details, loyalty program membership numbers and unencrypted passport numbers were leaked from 5.2 million guests worldwide.
Further investigation found that an unauthorized third-party had accessed, copied and encrypted their information, dating back to 2014.
While Marriott promptly contacted their customers after discovering the security breach, The Information Commissioner's Office fined them £18.4 million for failing to set security measures to protect their customers’ personal data.
- Date: October 2013
- Data breach that occurred: Hackers stole Adobe’s customer data
- Number of users affected: 38 million Adobe users
In October 2013, hackers stole and exposed nearly three million encrypted logins, passwords, IDs and customer card records from 38 million active Adobe users.
The stolen usernames and passwords were posted on a hacking forum.
As a violation of the Customer Records Act, Adobe was fined $1.1 million in legal fees and paid an undisclosed amount to their customers who were affected.
- Date: July 2020
- Data breach that occurred: Hackers stole $118,000 worth of Bitcoin
- Number of users affected: 130 users, including highly-influential account owners
Due to Twitter employees falling victim to a phone spear phishing attack, a group of hackers gained access to 130 corporate and private Twitter accounts that included verified accounts of Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Barack Obama and Apple.
It wasn’t until the press published scam messages that Twitter’s employees noticed the cyber attack.
The result? The cyber criminals were able to access these high-profile accounts to tweet a scam saying, “double your bitcoin,” then stole over $118,00 worth of bitcoin, causing Twitter’s stock price to decrease by 4%.
7. South Georgia Medical Center
- Date: November 2021
- Data breach that occurred: Former hospital employee stole data
- Number of users affected: 41,692 patients
In November 2021, an ex-employee of the South Georgia Medical Center downloaded private data to his personal USB drive right after he quit.
While his motives were unclear, his actions resulted in leaking sensitive data such as names, birth dates and test results of 41,692 patients.
As a result, the affected patients were provided additional services for free, such as identity restoration and credit monitoring.
Top Enterprise Cybersecurity Threats And How To Avoid Them
Are you aware of the top enterprise cybersecurity threats?
Since technology is constantly progressing, so are the methods cyber criminals use to gain unauthorized access to your data.
Here’s a look at the top cybersecurity threats and how to prevent them:
1. External Hacking Attempts
External hacking attempts are third-party cyber attacks that cyber criminals (outside of your company) perform to access your data.
Social engineering (manipulating people to give you their sensitive information) and IoT-device hacking (hacking non-computer items such as cars and webcams) are examples of external enterprise security threats.
How to prevent these cybersecurity threats: Install multi-factor authentication to add another layer of protection to your passwords and disconnect your IoT devices from the internet when you’re not using them.
2. Internal Security Incidents
Internal security incidents include data theft, unauthorized changes and access to your company’s system by your internal employees.
According to Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report, a shocking 44% of small business employees and 36% of large business employees were threat actors or people held responsible for security breaches.
How to prevent this cybersecurity threat: Except for business needs, exclude your employees from the administrator group on their computers to prevent them from installing malicious software and modifying important data.
You can also disable employee access to your company’s system once they leave, to prevent them from stealing data.
3. Accidental Employee Breaches
Now that we’ve discussed intentional cyber attacks, what about cybersecurity breaches that occur by accident?
Accidental security breaches can happen due to outdated security systems, insecure networks and unfortunately, inexperienced employees.
Untrained employees can risk your business’ security through different methods, such as poor password hygiene and falling for phishing scams.
How to prevent this cybersecurity threat: By implementing a cybersecurity training program, your employees will be equipped with the education and awareness they need to recognize threats and prevent cyber attacks from escalating.
5 Enterprise Cybersecurity Best Practices
Now that you know the top cybersecurity threats your enterprise might face, here are five best practices you can follow to strengthen your cybersecurity measures.
1. Hire A Cybersecurity Consulting Firm
If you’re not sure where to begin, invest in outsourced IT services to help secure your company’s networks and systems.
From identifying your network’s vulnerabilities and providing solutions you can utilize such as cloud cybersecurity to monitoring your company’s cybersecurity measures, a cybersecurity consulting firm is the perfect partner to keep your company safe from potential cyber attacks.
2. Provide Cybersecurity Awareness Training For Your Employees
Another service that cybersecurity consulting firms provide is training your employees about cybersecurity awareness.
Training sessions typically include education about basic cyber attacks and how to prevent them from happening —for example, how to avoid falling for a phishing scam.
3. Strengthen Your Passwords And Use Multi-Factor Authentication
Think again before you set your password to your mother’s maiden name, birth date, or the infamous “123456.”
Over the years, cyber criminals have become smarter — developing tools and methods to guess passwords correctly in seconds.
Ensure your password is difficult to decipher by using upper- and lower-case letters, symbols, and by keeping it at a minimum of 12 characters.
In addition, you can implement a two- or multi-factor authentication, a security process that requires numerous factors to gain access to your account.
4. Secure Your WiFi
With remote and hybrid work setups, it’s possible for your employee’s WiFi router to be hacked through Domain Name Server (DNS) hijacking.
DNS (a naming system that is used to identify computers and networks) hijacking is when cyber criminals manipulate your DNS queries to redirect you to a malicious site where they can steal your information.
You can prevent DNS hijacking by frequently changing your WiFi password and updating your computer's anti-virus software.
5. Keep Your Software Updated
90% of companies reported that they experienced cyber attacks with outdated software.
It’s important to consistently install the latest software updates to gain access to improved features and security fixes to protect your network from new cyber attacks.
Key Takeaways On Enterprise Cybersecurity
Enterprise cybersecurity ensures that your company’s network and software are protected from cyber criminals to prevent financial losses, a damaged brand reputation and loss of consumer trust.
From educating your employees to ensuring your software is updated with the latest patches, you can ensure that your company will be protected from potential cyber attacks and vulnerabilities.
If you don’t have a team of IT experts in-house, a cybersecurity consulting firm can help set you up with a protected system, prevent attacks and train your employees to keep an eye out for suspicious activity.
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