Are You a Victim of a Data Breach?

No company or individual is immune from the possibility of a data breach. Each day, hackers work to find vulnerabilities in the most secure systems. Data breaches happen most frequently to smaller companies or individuals, but even massive Fortune 500’s are at risk. The data affected by a breach can contain information from within the company about financial data or personnel files, as well as current and future customers. The best way to avoid being hacked is to be informed.

Who Or What Exactly Is a Hacker?

There is a common misconception – likely stemming from popular media – that hackers and fraudsters are simply wayward teens or geniuses that work in the shadows, hacking into systems with a press of a button, but the truth is actually more sinister. Hackers in general are tech-savvy individuals who take advantage of how little the common person knows about technology. A movie that shows a young man in a hoodie in a dark room staring at a black screen with green numbers populating before him is, in reality: a person anywhere at any time, sending mass emails, text messages, or social media posts requesting basic and seemingly innocuous information. Although complex programming does happen, the majority of “hacking” is actually just obtaining your password information through trickery. 

The information collected can be used to do several things, but the end-goal is typically financial gain for the hackers or their “organization.” The information can be sold in bulk on the dark web in exchange for “untraceable” currency, where whistleblowers tend to alert the public which is why you often receive notifications from companies with data breaches or in extreme cases, the news. More often than not, a hacker will use blackmail or hold your sensitive information for ransom. This has a faster payout for them, and adds urgency because the information is either very personal, or the affected organization is considered too small to gain much assistance from federal or local authorities. 

Knowing When a Data Breach Occurs, And How To Avoid It

The majority of the time a data breach occurs, all affected parties will be informed. Either by the large institution from which their data was taken or from the hackers themselves. Although it’s not too late to recover or protect your data, there are ways to prevent this from happening. A hacker will find vulnerabilities in one or more of these ways:

  • Finding System Vulnerabilities: A small technical glitch can become a gaping hole for hackers to manipulate. Sometimes the hackers can use software that algorithmically finds weaknesses to exploit, and other times, someone who has knowledge of the breach within the organization itself can be the perpetrator. Background checks can be helpful, but ultimately the best thing is to work with reputable data and technology companies who have the infrastructure to detect and prevent this from happening.
  • Personal Error: Cyberattacks such as malware, phishing, and ransomware use casual ignorance to their advantage. Since the majority of hacking actually occurs when someone simply isn’t paying attention, creating robust training courses and requiring all personnel to be tested is a way to avoid hacking schemes. As an individual, staying informed about the latest scams and data breaches will also help, if extensive training isn’t available. 


A data breach has long-standing consequences that have the potential to affect thousands or even millions of people. As individuals, the liabilities are naturally very personal, and it may feel like there is little hope for a positive outcome. Not only can sensitive information be used against you or your organization, but getting hacked brings out feelings of being violated, and can hurt your reputation while you’re already suffering. 

If you have experienced a data breach, or are being hacked, there is still hope for recourse. STARNet utilizes a variety of legal and technological tools in multiple jurisdictions to combat breaches all over the world. Our global network of representatives is here to guide you. Contact our network to set up a consultation.

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STARNet, which is short for Stolen Asset Recovery Network, is a global alliance of independent law firms created to provide financial institutions and governments with multi-disciplinary services across countries and jurisdictions for locating, freezing, and ultimately recovering stolen assets related to cyber heists, fraud or corruption.

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