In 2021, Facebook was scraped by hackers, and user records of 533 million were posted onto a hacking forum. The same year, Syniverse revealed that hackers accessed over 500 million records.
As more companies conduct business online, the prevalence of data breaches shows an upward trajectory. As a result, there’s an increasing need to find ways to safeguard information and keep them out of the hands of hackers and cybercriminals. That’s where VPN comes in. It is hailed as a fantastic tool for Internet security and privacy.
Keep scrolling to learn if it can protect you from data breaches and whether you should download a VPN immediately.
First, What is the Meaning of a Data Breach?
An incident where information is taken or stolen from a system without the authorization or knowledge of the system’s owner is known as a data breach. Organizations of all sizes can suffer data breaches. It is also pretty distressing to individuals.
The stolen data may involve proprietary, sensitive, or confidential information like customer data, trade secrets, credit card numbers, or matters concerning national security.
The effects of a data breach are varied, and it can come in the form of damage to the target enterprise’s reputation because the breach is perceived as a betrayal of trust. Data breach victims may also suffer significant financial losses if the information stolen relates to financial records. Moreover, cybercriminals may sell any information on the dark web, resulting in identity theft and other serious repercussions.
While most data breaches are attributed to malware or hacking attacks, there are other breach methods used by cybercriminals. Some of them are mentioned here.
- Payment card fraud – Physical skimming devices are used to steal payment card data.
- Internal leaks – A person of authority or a trusted individual with access to privileges may steal data.
- Accidental disclosure – Sensitive data might be exposed through negligence or mistakes.
- Theft or loss – Information might get leaked if laptops, portable drives, files, office computers, or other physical properties are stolen or lost.
In some cases, the actual data breach method is undisclosed or unknown.
Second, What is the Meaning of a VPN?
A virtual private network (VPN) is a service that protects users’ online privacy and Internet connection by creating an encrypted tunnel for the data. In addition, it safeguards users’ online identity by masking the IP address.
Using a VPN service to step up your privacy game is critical. Browsing through a VPN means your traffic is encrypted, and nobody can monitor your online activities.
So, Can VPNs Protect You from Data Breaches?
VPNs have become an indispensable security tool for encrypting personal information while you enjoy streaming, browsing, shopping, or playing games online.
The use of a VPN is recommended in all situations, especially when using a public Wi-Fi network. It helps to protect data from snooping eyes and even re-routed IP addresses so that users’ locations remain anonymous.
VPNs stop government organizations, cybercriminals, and other monitoring bodies from interrupting the connection and stealing information. However, it does not prevent cyber criminals from hacking into secure servers and stealing personal data. If you have willingly provided your personal details to an organization or online business, the likelihood of having your data breached cannot be reduced by using a VPN.
Moreover, some VPN providers might enhance the chances of your information being accessed or stolen. For example, free VPNs cannot be trusted because they cannot adequately protect your privacy online and may even sell users’ information to third parties for a profit.
In simple terms, VPNs can protect you from data breaches, but only if you haven’t willingly given your personal information to companies, websites, or the person you are chatting online with. Also, data breaches are only reduced if you use a paid VPN service with a reliable reputation.
Steps to Take if You’re a Victim of a Data Breach
A data breach is distressing for businesses and individuals. But, unfortunately, it can happen to anyone. You can take steps to prevent it by installing a VPN, but it is always best to stay prepared for the worst.
If you love surfing the web and rely on the Internet for everything, you might unknowingly give out your personal details to several companies and websites. As a result, your personal information might be compromised in the long run.
Several countries have laws stating that companies must inform consumers if their data is breached. However, it can be supremely distressing for anyone to receive this type of news. That’s why it is a good idea to have a crystal clear plan of action to be implemented immediately so the damage can be mitigated.
Actions to mitigate data breaches include:
- Make efforts to find out the kind of data that was stolen by unauthorized personnel.
- Consumers must consider accepting the offer if the breached company offers any help. This might include dark web monitoring, identity theft protection, or credit monitoring.
Besides these, you must immediately change the passwords of all your online accounts. If you use the same password for multiple accounts, you must stop this practice. Get in the habit of creating unique passwords for all your accounts so that data breaches are prevented at the outset. If remembering so many passwords seems like a task, you can use a password management solution.
You can also contact third parties who can help in case of a data breach. This will depend on the type of information that has been accessed or stolen. For instance, if your financial details are compromised, contact your bank. If your tax file number is at risk, contact the tax office. Connect the federal government if your passport details or driver’s license have been stolen.
The Bottom Line
Data breaches are real, and they can happen to anyone. So first, you must be careful with who you share your personal details with, and the second step is to use a VPN to boost your privacy online.