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The Importance of Monitoring External Data Breaches

When it comes to data security, most companies focus entirely on internal weaknesses and preventing internal breaches. However, external breaches can be equally as dangerous.
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The Importance of Monitoring External Data Breaches

Many businesses and organizations tend to focus on internal data breaches exclusively. This is fairly understandable since that is the piece that the company feels it can actually control. However, it is also important to monitor external risks. External openings for cyber criminals, if compromised, could also result in significant risk to your internal operations. This is where the importance of monitoring external data breaches comes in.

In this guide, we’ll explore what external data breaches are, why monitoring for external attacks is so important, what risks such breaches present, and how Accountable HQ can help.

What is an External Data Breach?

A data breach on any site, especially of your work-related information, can present a significant risk to the company. An external threat, often known as a data breach, is the possibility of someone from outside an organization attempting to exploit system weaknesses through malicious software, hacking, sabotage, or social engineering like phishing attacks.

External risks are more difficult to deal with since you can't watch individuals from the outside in the same way as you can your own workers.

Types of External Data Breaches

External intrusions or dangers might take many different forms.


One example is malware. Malicious software is a broad phrase that encompasses a wide range of applications intended to cause harm to a computer system. Some, such as adware, are less harmful, while others, such as viruses, can render a hard drive worthless.

Open-Source Hacking

There's also open-source hacking. Hacking is a general term that refers to gaining unauthorized access to a computer system and its contents by exploiting flaws in the system. The term "attack vector" refers to a method of attack that typically involves exploiting flaws in areas such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, the internet connection, or gaining access to an internal network. We'll discover more about how they're vulnerabilities as we proceed through this course. 

There is a multitude of causes for it, depending on whether it is carried out by a person, a company, or the government. When carried out by a single individual, determining their goal, which might vary from profit to protest to amusement, is challenging. Many hacktivist organizations say that their actions are driven by a political or social agenda. Many others, on the other hand, will do it only for the goal of harm.


Organizations should also consider sabotage. Sabotage refers to any conduct that affects systems purposefully, such as denial-of-service attacks, virus propagation, or physically harming computer equipment. Individuals, terrorist organizations, companies, and governments are all potential participants. 

Unlike hacking, which can be done with the purpose of gathering data or causing trouble, sabotage is done with the intent of causing harm. This is clearly done to make it harder for the victim to go about their regular lives.

Social Engineering

Another external threat is social engineering. Social engineering refers to the techniques used to persuade people to provide private and sensitive information. This information might subsequently be utilized to perpetrate financial and identity theft, as well as gain access to computer systems. 

Phishing emails, in which an email is sent out by a bot or someone purporting to be someone they are not, are a common example. The receiver of this email will frequently be asked to react with personal information or to click on a link to a website. The user may then be prompted for information or their computer may be infected with malware as a result of visiting this website. When it comes to external data breaches, social engineering is the most common version of it. 

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The Use of External Data Monitoring

External monitoring assists in dealing with possible cyber threats, in addition to internal monitoring and system security utilized by national or global corporations, financial institutions, government agencies, and private groups.

As businesses become more aware of the changing IT world, many are realizing that external monitoring may be beneficial. External monitoring may often determine what went wrong after a security breach, allowing you to rapidly recover.

What Risks do External Data Breaches Bring?

When a third party considers corporate data to be valuable, it becomes a target. Different forms of data are more or less beneficial to third parties, and they offer different levels of risk to a business. Here are some examples of several types of data:

  • PII: PII stands for "Personally Identifiable Information." This contains confidential information such as social security numbers, contact information, birth dates, educational background, and other personal details.
  • Information about money: This information includes credit card numbers and expiration dates, bank accounts, investment information, and other similar information.
  • Information on health or medical history: Details about medical issues, prescription medicines, therapies, and medical records are included.
  • Intellectual Property: IP is a term that refers to product artwork, scientific data, marketing scripts, symbols, unique software, patents, designs, inventions, written works, and other materials generated by the company are all included.
  • Information about competing businesses: This contains competitive information, market research, price data, and business strategies.
  • Information on the law: Documentation on any pending court proceedings, legal views on corporate operations, merger and acquisition data, and regulatory judgments are all included.
  • Data on IT security: Lists of user names and passwords, encryption keys, cyber security techniques, and network structure are all part of this.

These forms of data attract the attention of third parties who appreciate the information. Personal, financial, and health information can be sold and utilized for marketing, identity theft, and fraud. Intellectual property can be sold and utilized to create products and services that are similar to your company's. 

Your competitors may sell and utilize competitive information to thwart your goals, and leaked legal information may jeopardize your legal standing. IT security data is a lucrative target in and of itself since it allows unauthorized parties access to all other sorts of data on your system.

Why is External Breach Monitoring Important?

Both internal and external data breaches might be disastrous, depending on the sector and the information stolen. External hacks are often looking for information they can sell or use to make a profit. So if a hacker breaks into your network or software, hides essential information, and demands a ransom in exchange for revealing the information, external hacks might be more financially damaging. That's why external breach detection is so crucial.

What Can Happen When You Ignore External Breach Monitoring

If there remains any doubt that external breach monitoring is of utmost importance, let me introduce you to a recent costly story of a company that did not implement continuous monitoring in this way. The large nonprofit health plan provider, Kaiser Permanente, experienced an external breach when an outside party gained access to an employee's email account. 

Once they gained this unauthorized access, they were able to access many forms of PHI for almost 70,000 people. This is a massive breach that could’ve been identified and stopped quickly if the company was running constant external breach monitoring. 

How to Implement External Data Breach Monitoring?

When it comes to implementing external data breach monitoring, it’s usually wise to leave the hard work to the pros. Accountable HQ has recently launched a brand new feature that monitors external data breaches. This feature of our software alerts our customers when their work email address may have been involved in an external data breach. 

We’ve established that when it comes to data security, most companies focus entirely on internal weaknesses and preventing internal breaches. By investing in Accountable HQ’s proprietary technology, you can do what your competition isn’t– protect yourself from external data breaches.

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