Email Data Breach: How To Check It And How It Supports Identity Verification

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Our online lives have changed completely in recent years. While we have been using the internet since its development, that is nothing compared to today’s internet usage. According to the Pew Research Center, 85% of Americans use the internet daily, with 31% claiming they are online almost constantly and 48% going online several times a day. Nowadays, there is hardly any activity left we can’t do online, from streaming shows, remote working, online studying, communicating to shopping, organizing our lives, and even having a doctor’s appointment. Most of these activities weren’t available online until recently. 

While it has brought an enormous change to our lives, it also allowed cybercriminals and fraudsters to update their malicious activities and reach new victims. So many new cybersecurity threats and trends arise daily that it can be challenging to stay one step ahead and stop them. Cybercriminals and fraudsters use technological advancement for their benefit, creating hard-to-trace attacks, such as data breaches that take a long time to discover. A successful data breach can be accomplished in a matter of seconds, but most companies won’t realize the breach happened until a few weeks have passed. By then, who knows what cyber criminals have done with the stolen data, and which consequences will the business have to deal with? 

But, there is a way to use an email data breach against fraudsters and cybercriminals. While you should always take the necessary steps to stop the breach from happening to your business, you can still use the breaches that occurred to your users to verify if they are actually who they say they are. 

What Is A Data Breach? 

A data breach is a type of cyberattack that happens when an unauthorized person gains access to sensitive or confidential data. This can range from accessing, viewing, copying, sending, using, or stealing that data without the knowledge or authorization of the owner. 

According to the Identity Theft Resource Center’s 2021 Data Breach Report, that was a record year for data breaches with an increase of 68% compared to the previous year. They have also reported that the number of affected people decreased to 294 million, which is 5 percent less than last year. Regardless of the decrease, numbers still sound daunting. Can you imagine that in one year, 294 million people had their private and confidential data accessed by unauthorized people? Do you know if you are among them or how even to check it? 

How To Know If Your Email Was In A Data Breach 

A data breach is one of the worst types of cyberattacks because victims often don’t even know they were involved in it. Luckily, there are ways to discover it. Knowing your data was exposed in the breach allows you to take the necessary steps to protect it. For example, if you know that your login data for a certain website was exposed in the breach, you can quickly change those details before fraudsters can do anything. People will often use the same passwords for various accounts, which means they are all in danger if their data gets exposed. By reacting on time, you will be able to protect them. You can check this easily by visiting Have I Been Pwned website, which checks if your email was involved in any data breaches. If your email were exposed in an email data breach, the website would provide you more information about the leak. 

How Can Data Breach Be Used For Identity Verification? 

Data breaches can be a lot more than just a horrible cyberattack. It can actually reveal a lot about your users, and by doing so, it can help you verify their identity. Data breach checks can be done in two different stages of user interaction; a sign-up stage and a login stage. 

During the sign-up stage, you can check if your user’s email has been exposed in any past data breaches. If your user has indeed been related to the breach in the past, that would mean their email address is mature, and they are a legitimate customer. You can even determine an email’s age by the time it first appeared in a breach. The email that hasn’t appeared in any data breaches will raise some concerns as that usually means it is either newly created or a throwaway. 

Discovering that the user’s email has appeared in the latest data breach during the login stage is the last thing you want to learn. That might mean that it is a fraudster trying to access users’ accounts and steal from them. Luckily, there is a way around it. By using additional cybersecurity solutions such as device fingerprinting, you can consider additional information about the user to make a decision. For example, if the user is accessing the website from a trusted source, it is more likely they are a legitimate user than if they were logging in from a different device. 

Can You Prevent A Data Breach From Affecting Your Company? 

Data breaches can have disastrous consequences, from individuals having to change their passwords or freeze their cards to businesses dealing with reputational damage, loss of revenue, unexpected expenses, and similar long-term consequences. This is why all companies need to start taking proactive steps to ensure the safety of the business and its customers. These steps you can start taking today: 

• Conduct risk assessment and follow up on its findings 

• Implement a proactive cybersecurity strategy 

• Data encryption 

• Implement regular cyber awareness training, concentrating on password and email security 

• Introduce anti-phishing practices 

• Do not collect information that you do not need 

• Be mindful of who has access to sensitive information 

• Ensure you keep a data backup Implement multi-factor verification 

While these steps might not stop all the cyberattacks, they are an excellent place to start your fight against data breaches and similar attacks. 

Conclusion 

Data breaches are one of the most devastating types of cyberattacks for a company, leaving them to deal with long-term consequences some of them will never recover from. But, thanks to technological developments in cybersecurity, now there is a way to use this devious action for good. Using data breaches other companies experienced against fraudsters, you can ensure that your business stays safe and protected while giving some meaning to the difficulties those other companies had to endure.

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