Uncovering Security Breaches

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A breach in your security can be detrimental to your business; an undetected breach is even worse.

Cybersecurity and visibility go hand-in-hand. If you want to protect your teams, you need to be able to respond to emerging situations as quickly as possible. That means staying up-to-date on any potential breaches and threats.

Most people don’t realize when they’ve been breached. In a recent study, participants were unaware of 74% of breaches that exposed their own information. Users and businesses today need to be more aware than that to respond quickly enough to minimize the damage of these incidents.

Preventing Security Breaches

Of course, prevention is better than a cure. Considering that data breaches cost $3.86 million on average, teams should do all they can to stop these leaks from happening in the first place.

Using reliable, up-to-date anti-malware software is the first step. Since many breaches come from internal errors, it’s also important to train everyone in cybersecurity best practices, including spotting phishing attempts and strong password usage. Password managers can help enforce more secure credential policies like rotating passwords.

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is another crucial step, as it ensures hackers need more than a breached password to compromise accounts. It’s also a good idea to segment networks and limit privileges, so devices and users can only access what they need for their jobs. That way, one breached account won’t be able to jeopardize an entire network.

How to Detect Security Breaches

While preventive steps are essential, remember that no measure is 100% effective. Cybersecurity is complex and continually evolving, so there’s always a chance that something could slip through the cracks. The costs of an unresolved breach are also too high to assume you’ll always be safe.

You’ll need a backup and response plan to protect your team’s data. You’ll also need to learn of breaches as they happen to respond fast enough for that plan to be effective. With that in mind, here are three ways you can detect security breaches.

1. Use a Password Manager

One of the easiest ways to detect breaches is by using a password manager. Password managers for businesses like 1Password include reporting features for breached accounts and vulnerable credentials. If you’re already using one of these programs to manage employees’ logins, then you already have the tools to monitor for breaches. (Read also: Choosing a Password Manager for Business.)

What the specifics of this process look like will vary depending on the password manager you use. In password manager reviews, you’ll find tools like 1Password that can find these reports under the “Watchtower” tab on the website or app. This service will highlight any passwords it’s detected on the dark web or on websites where a breach occurred. It’ll also warn you of accounts with weak passwords or without MFA.

1Password and other password managers for businesses will also provide real-time alerts on some platforms. That way, you can change potentially breached login credentials as soon as these services detect a vulnerability.


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2. Check Have I Been Pwned

Another way to ensure your credentials are safe is to check Have I Been Pwned, one of the resources 1Password uses. This website analyzes breach reports to compile lists of potentially affected email addresses or phone numbers.

Open Have I Been Pwned and enter your email or phone number to search for breaches. The site will give you a list of incidents connected to those details, including when they happened and what data might’ve been compromised. You can then take appropriate steps like changing your password, contacting the company or freezing accounts.

You can also set up alerts on Have I Been Pwned. This service will send you an email every time it detects your listed information in a breach, enabling quicker responses. If you’re trying to protect your team, you should enable notifications for each of their email addresses.

3. Monitor Account Activity

You can also take a more manual approach to detecting breaches. Keep a close eye on any accounts you want to protect, including bank accounts and user profiles on your network. If you notice any suspicious behavior, it could be a breach.

What defines suspicious behavior depends on the account in question. Purchases you didn’t make are an obvious sign but look for more subtle clues, too. If a team member’s account starts trying to access files it doesn’t normally use or need, it could be compromised. (Read also: Insider Threat Awareness: Avoiding Internal Security Breaches.)

Businesses that contain a breach in 30 days or less save $1 million on average compared to longer responses, so once you notice anything suspicious, act quickly. You can freeze transactions by calling your bank or credit bureau and contain hacked user accounts by restricting their access privileges.

Protect Your Teams By Watching for Breaches

Taking the necessary steps to prevent security breaches is essential, but cybersecurity can’t stop there. If you want to fully protect your teams, you need to watch for breaches that slip through the cracks. The earlier you can find them, the faster you can resolve them and minimize their damage.

Password managers and breach lists make it relatively easy to discover security breaches. If you use these tools, you can find and stop attacks before they jeopardize any sensitive data.


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Editor-in-Chief for ReHack.com
Editor-in-Chief for ReHack.com

Devin Partida is the Editor-in-Chief for ReHack.com, and has had her freelance work featured in the official CES magazine, as well as various other tech publications. When she isn't writing about the latest tech, gadgets or cybersecurity trends, you can find her biking around the Golden Gate Bridge. To view Devin's full professional portfolio, please visit this page.