Every business is a target — All kinds of organization from the largest to unsuspectingly small ones can become a victim of data breach. With many incidents reported each year, the IRS continues to wage war against these kinds of intrusions by posting articles and other publications that could warn and raise awareness to their taxpayers, especially with the next tax season coming up. But even after all the precautionary measures said and done, there are some who still became unexpected victims of these kinds of issues which resulted from their carelessness of handling data.
Flickr ( Ervins Strauhmanis )
1. Stolen Device May Lead to Breach
Flickr (Andrew Lee)
The policy of BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) is a growing business trend where employees are allowed by companies to bring their own devices in the office. But the risk of it is when the device gets stolen from the employee. Not only there’s a possibility that the victim might not retrieve it and be able to use his/her device again, but also comes the risk of someone who might use and infiltrate the data in the device.
2. Lost, Not Found and Unreported
Aside from peripherals getting stolen, there are cases in which some unintentionally lost their devices. Here is an example that will best describe the malpractice:
A database management personnel who is working for a private company tried to take the time off to sip some coffee at a nearby cafeteria. Then as he went home, he forgot his laptop which contains all the confidential information of employees within the company. He tried to look for it but when he went back to the cafeteria, he found nothing. Fortunately, he has a spare laptop unit and a hard drive which contains several copies of the database file.
In this scenario, at first we might think that the problem was solved after knowing that the personnel still has backup copies of employees in his hard drive and all he have to do is to import the file again into his laptop. But the problem is that he doesn’t really know where his laptop really is, and he has no idea if the laptop is being used by another person in a different location. He didn’t even reported this issue to authorities nearby.
3. Computers Left Open
In my past article, I discussed the importance of turning off your computer once you head out of the office or when you’re about to end your shift. That way, other people can’t just peek at the information in your computer. You should also use privacy screens to your device in order for you to protect your desktop from people who wants to access your account.
4. Falling Into Fake Phone Calls
There are some cases that scammers will call via phone using common surnames, (e.g. Smith, Johnson, Miller) and contact their target victim, saying that they are representatives from the IRS, and that they called because the victim has miscalculations in taxes which he/she has to pay, or else a warrant will be issued against the victim, and the only way to settle the situation is by paying money and give up important information (e.g. Paypal account etc.).
The worst thing that might happen is that if the victim is new when it comes to these kinds of scams, he/she might give out the information along with the payment.
When it comes to these kinds of issues, especially with prank callers who uses taxes as a way for them to get money and information, you can always refer to the hotline being given by the IRS. There are contact numbers that you should call to fix these kinds of issues.
5. Password Negligence
Another malpractice is one’s negligence in handling passwords. If you’re someone who is very strict when it comes to credentials, then sharing passwords with anyone is a big no-no. Remember that passwords are doorways to your most precious information, so as much as possible, don’t give it out to anyone that easily and keep your passwords confidential.
Furthermore, another known misuse of passwords is making several accounts using the same password. Also, keep in mind that possibilities of you getting hacked would get higher if you still continue using identical passwords to all your accounts.
Data breach, whether it’s malicious or unintentional, can still be considered as a big deal, a huge threat, and a damaging blow to your business. Documents like tax records, medical information and M&A files are not just information that are entered in a piece of paper then converted into digital files, for all of these data can be used against you as well as your clients. Nobody would want to be a victim of these kinds of intrusions, so it would be best if you avoid committing these kinds of malpractices, and never let your data and business be damaged by issues caused by lack of discipline in handling information.