Blog, Data Protection, Security
With the landing of ransomware on the rampage, data security has become the matter of prime importance.
Whether the data is important like business information or personal photos – protection is necessary from cyber attackers who encrypt it and exploits by asking for a ransom to unlock the data.
But malware is just one of the aspects that data security has to deal with. The security has to counter hacker's viruses, insider threats and data loss due to natural disaster, hardware failure, or user error.
This article gives a deep dive in data security, its origin and the steps you can take to protect your confidential information.
What is data security?
Earlier data security was ensured by covering a scroll with a wax seal so that recipient could know that the message had not been read by the couriers. In modern times, it has meant keeping ledgers and paper documents stored in safes or locking file cabinets.
But with the technology advancement in 1960, data security got reshaped. The definition of today is- data availability only to those who have authority to access it.
The formal definition is the security of data from unauthorized access, modification, destruction, disclosure, or disruption. It covers three components:
Confidentiality – Only authorized users have the accessibility to data.
Integrity – Ensuring that information and systems are updated, and uncorrupted.
Availability – On time and reliable access to data and systems.
Data security has challenged engineers to develop advanced solutions and advent of the internet has made it more difficult as it has changed the method of data usage and accessibility. The World Wide Web is the same – a big global network with which connects billions of machines and devices.
With the rise of social media platforms, cloud computing, and its associated IT environments, and its forte data security have seen a new face of technology. The government regulations have mandated the strict record keeping which has skyrocketed to the cost of not complying with data security standards.
Let's take an example of the United States which includes the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and the Gramm Leach Bliley Act (GLBA).
Big Moments in Data Security.
It shows concern towards data vulnerability. Let's take a look how data breach has matured with the time.
1979 – Xerox developed the first computer worm. The aim was to raise computer's efficiency, but the technique was put into use by hackers to meet their nefarious aims.
1983 – The movie “WarGames” was the biggest hit. Matthew Broderick played the lead role of a young hacker who took the world to the brink of nuclear war and got three Academy Award nominations.
1986 – “The Brain,” is the first computer virus, though not developed for hacking purposes.
1988 – A malicious worm enters the United States’ ARPANET system, a precursor to the internet, and disrupted 6,000 computers by reproducing itself. The developer, Robert Morris, was penalized to three years of probation and a fine of $10,000.
1999 – Two young Californian hackers take control of more than 500 government, private, and military computing systems.
2001 – The Code Red worm attacks Microsoft software, with an aim to attack the White House website. The attack is defeated, but still, causes the damage of $2 billion.
2006 – The Nyxem virus exploits more than 1 million computers which lead to overwriting files on the third of each month. Nyxem spreads by email attachments and attacks common file types like PDFs and Microsoft Word documents.
2009 – Conficker is the virus which hacks financial data and passwords from infected computers.
2013 – Hackers attack giant retailer Target and take the personal data of about 70 million customers.
2014 – Russian hackers steal half a million email addresses and more than 1.2 billion user names and passwords.
2017 – The attacks have just occurred by two ransomware which infects more than a quarter million machines across the world and causes heavy losses to individuals, government agencies, global corporations, and half a million email addresses.
So the villains are developing new ways to steal your data. And this list has just begun. It doesn’t address actions like cyber terrorism or theft of intellectual property performed by nation states and their surrogates.
Do you think you can protect yourself in these times? We do!!
Are you able to keep your digital information secure?
Though not extremely difficult, it takes time, dedication and commitment. Don't take shortcuts otherwise you are likely to pay for a security breach.
How to keep your data secure?
We have created a list and below are the steps which you need to follow to protect your data.
- Use passphrases or strong passwords
- Different accounts should have different passwords
- Lock your computer when not in operation
- Don’t store sensitive data on USB drives, mobile devices, and CDs, etc.
- Don’t use personal email for business communications
- Regular updation of operating system
- Enable automatic software updates
- Use reliable antivirus software
- Think before connecting with public wireless networks
- Unplug your computer from the wireless network when not in operation
- Give a forethought while downloading and installing software
- Try to avoid an unknown source to open email attachment
- Use caution to click on links in an email from an unknown sender.
- Don’t use email or text to send confidential information
- These steps work in keeping the data safe if applied correctly.
Another key component to promote data security:
Using a comprehensive backup solution.
Strong backup allows recovery anytime from anywhere.
Simply put a reliable backup strategy, it works as an insurance policy if your data is ever hacked or damaged due to hackers, hardware/software failure, natural disaster, ransomware, or user error – or any other reason you encounter.
Don’t think it will not happen. Data loss can attack anyone at some point. The average life of a hard drive is only six years, and one in 20 die in the first year. More than 30 percent PC users have lost all of their data due to events beyond their control.
So it’s not about whether you’ll fall victim to the data breach, but when. So strong and reliable backup software is important to protect your information.
The reliable backup solutions – such as Acronis True Image 2018 for home users and Acronis Backup 12.5 for businesses– are comprehensive and affordable to buy. You will be able to back up all the data without a lot of heavy lifting. If your backup is too complex or needs a lot of minds-on effort, it becomes a chore – and then your duty to protect it is likely to waver thus leaving your data vulnerable to attack.
A Natural Protection against Ransomware
One of the main benefits of a robust backup solution is that it gives overall protection against ransomware. With regular backups, data is secured in the cloud; ransomware becomes nothing but a nuisance. In case if a business is hit by a hacker, there is no need to worry about because all the data is safe that might have been encrypted.
“Businesses that back up their files regularly on a device or an external server can clean their hard drive to eliminate the ransomware and retrieve their files from backup,” Peter Kadzik, assistant U.S. Attorney General, mentioned in a letter to Congress in 2016. “If all individuals and businesses backed up their data, a ransomware that depends on encrypting user files would not be as the profit making business for cyber criminals.”
But Acronis’ leveraging technology goes even further in the battle against ransomware. Our comprehensive Acronis Active Protection™ is the only backup technology that works with artificial intelligence to root out ransomware.
Acronis Active Protection uses machine learning and sophisticated analysis to scrutinize a system. If it detects any errant behavior or doubtful processes, it immediately blocks the activity and blacklists the operation responsible for doing it, ensuring that it will not start again on the next reboot.
If ransomware does manage to enter through and encrypt files, Acronis Active Protection will detect the data encryption and stops it – automatically retrieving the files to recently backed up version.
How efficient is Acronis’ solution?
It successfully combated 15,000 ransomware attacks for 10,000 customers since its launch in 2017. And independent lab testing confirms that Acronis Active Protection outperformed 22 anti-virus solutions in detecting and blocking ransomware.
It is because different strains of ransomware are zero-day exploits that are not known to traditional signature-based anti-virus software. As Acronis Active Protection has artificial intelligence base to look for erratic processes, it’s able to detect ransomware’s disrupted fingerprints and halts it before– even with a zero-day attack.
The third pillar of data security is data integrity. Acronis has you covered you there in a better way with Acronis Notary, which develops a similar “fingerprint” for your data and opts Blockchain technology to evaluate its integrity or reveal a legal chain of custody. It is for medical records, legal documents, contracts or even chain-of-custody purposes for proof in criminal cases.
IT is moving in the age of ransomware and data security has become very important. Securing data from unsolicited access, protecting it from being corrupted while making it available to authorized users is a priority for home users and companies alike. The essential part of data security is a reliable backup solution like Acronis Backup 12.5 or Acronis True Image, which not only saves from data loss but works extra to stop ransomware before it can wreak havoc.