Indian telecom operator warns businesses of the “real threat” of data breaches.
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Indian telecom operator warns businesses of the “real threat” of data breaches.

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New Delhi based telecom operator Bharti Airtel has spoken out about the “real threat” data breaches cause to businesses and organisations.

The company say it prides itself in taking cyber security and customer privacy “very seriously”, India’s economic times reports. Airtel’s comments were prompted by a recent data breach that reportedly exposed an internet and telecom provider’s customer database, which may have been accessed by an unauthorised third party who uploaded the stolen information on an independent website called Magicapk.

This is relevant for us to keep an eye on here in the U.K. Data breaches abroad can affect us here too, and we know a lot of organisations outsource to countries like India. These worries should be at the forefront of all our minds.

Companies all over the world should take action before they’re hit; and it really is just a matter of time for many. Whilst it’s understandable that cybercriminals are getting more and more advanced with their methods, ignorance is simply not going to help anyone. Businesses must be proactive in protecting customers or face a tainted reputation and expensive legal costs and remedies brought by victims.

Companies can’t afford to play roulette with customer data. They themselves may well be next…

Telecoms a target

Telecommunications companies in the U.K. have been targeted by cybercriminals for years. 

Mobile network provider Three experienced a “shocking breach of data privacy” when its customers saw lists of call histories next to phone numbers and names of other users. TalkTalk is still reeling from their data breach after potentially millions of customers had personal details compromised.

Healthcare still a huge target too

Health institutions have seen some of the worst data breaches in terms of scale. With the NHS holding a wealth of sensitive patient records on reportedly outdated systems, simple administration errors can expose millions of patients’ personal information at a click of a button, and hackers can access older software more easily. Last May, we saw the horrendous WannaCry ransomware that had an impact across the world, and it wormed its way around old and outdated servers that were reportedly rife with vulnerabilities.

Whether it be a mistake or a full-blown attack, data breaches are to be reckoned with.

Cyberattacks must be taken seriously

The constant threat of cyberattacks must be taken seriously before they happen. Businesses need to understand that, in a world where everything is digitalised, cybersecurity is a must.

The first step in protecting a company from a data breach is to expect one. Data breaches can happen from so many ways, and ignorance of the threat will not prevent an attack. Expect a data breach; understand how one might happen; and know what can be done to limit the impact and mitigate the damage.

Data breaches are indeed a “real threat” that can destroy a business through simply tarnishing its reputation. Customers may refuse to knowingly sign up to a website that has been hacked, or provide bank details for purchases if they know the company has accidentally revealed customer data before. To protect a business, you have to protect the customer.

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