Cracking Down on Data Breaches


by 123FormBuilder

How digitally secure do you think your company is?

In a survey led by PwC regarding cyber security in the private sector, revealed that a large portion of companies are not prepared for digital threats – more specifically, 44% of 9,500 executives stated that they do not have any data security strategies in place.

To put that number into perspective, cyber crime is rated as the 2nd most reported type of economic crime, jumping from 4th place one year ago. This poses a huge threat for companies stuck in that 44% segment.

We’ll take a closer look at a specific type of cyber crime, namely a data breach and what security measures can be put in place to prevent it from happening.

What is a data breach?

A data breach is essentially a theft, but instead of gaining an item, the thief receives a copy of it. This might seem not so bad (who doesn’t want to keep all his stuff after being robbed, right?).

In case of information theft, such as credit card details, personal information or access to a company’s database, most of the time it leads to much more serious issues such as identity theft, corporate lawsuits or even, in some cases, bankruptcy.

In a nutshell, data breaches are intentional releases of secure or private information to an untrusted environment for causing harm, extortion or other malicious intents. A study by IBM states that the average data breach creates losses and costs worth $3.62 millions. While the cost did lower since last year, the scope of breaches has extended by 1.8%.

Common types of data breaches

Malicious data breaches come in a few forms. Here are the most common types of threats which companies are facing:

1. Malware

Short for malicious software, is any program or file that is harmful to a computer user. This is commonly referred to as a “virus”, but come in different forms such as worms, Trojan horses and spyware. These programs can be wired to perform actions such as stealing, deleting, altering or tracking computers and the data stored on them.

Have strong passwords! By increasing the length alone by 1 key, it exponentially increases the time it takes to break it. One example showed how a computer simulation ran for .30 milliseconds to break a 7 letter password, but it increased to 5 hours when an additional letter was added. If other types of characters such as numbers or symbols are thrown into the mix, it will take more than a few years to break it.

Changing passwords frequently goes hand-in-hand to further mitigate these types of attacks.

2. Ransomware

This is a fairly new addition to the list, but one we have talked about in our blog when the WannaCry crisis started in May 2017. Ransomware became very popular among cyber crimes targeting businesses which have time-sensitive data. Think of criminals in a hostage situation – they enter, lock themselves in and then make demands to the authorities.

The same applies here: a individual gains access to a system, locks the system so it can’t be entered from the outside, and then demands the company to pay in order to gain access again to the data. Most of the time companies give in since the data targeted is critically important.

The best way to prevent this from happening is rendering the burglar’s leverage ineffective by backing up data on a regular basis. This is useful for mitigating other incidents, such as deletions and server hazards.

Online Forms and Data Security

When it comes to online forms, you have a few options which prevent such attacks from happening.

  • Enable CAPTCHA’s to filter out spam entries
  • Add SSL encryption for the data gathered on the form
  • Password protect your form, so it can’t be easily accessed
  • Add IP and country limitations to reduce the spread and access of your form
  • Encrypt submitted data, such as submissions and uploads, so they don’t end up in the wrong hands.

It’s important to keep the data collected safe both for you and your responders. Here you can see a list of security options and features which can be added on forms created through 123FormBuilder.


Adrian is the CRO Manager at 123FormBuilder, in charge of the onboarding process and customer engagement over email newsletters. He loves exploring new trends and gathering data for out-of-the-box initiatives.

Have suggestions on how to prevent any of the data breaches mentioned above? Leave it in the comments so other readers can learn too!

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