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When you’re dealing with secure customer information, it pays to be careful. If customer data is stolen from a company’s server, it can be disastrous for the business. Uber experienced a scare like this a few months ago. Fortunately for Uber, it turned out that there had never been a breach, but for a time, it seemed like someone had gotten into their servers and stolen come customers’ financial information.

The issue came to light when a number of users received higher-than-expected charges. One Philadelphia woman’s bank account was charged more than $28,000. Because of the size of the charge, her bank flagged and blocked the transaction. Shortly after this event, the woman received an email from Uber stating that her account had been hacked.Philly's Uber Hacking: What Businesses Can Learn About Customer Security

The email she received stated that “[her] sign-in information seemed to have been compromised/phished from another website and then tested on [Uber’s] platform. . . This kind of fraud is highly sophisticated.” Just under a week later, however, she received another email informing her that her account had not been compromised, and that the source of the issue was a glitch in Uber’s system that led to a higher-than-intended authorization hold.

Fortunately, this story had a happy ending, with the woman’s information remaining secure the entire time. It does illustrate the risks companies face, however, with experts predicting the costs of cybercrime to rise to $2 trillion by 2019. To protect themselves from an actual attack, there are several steps businesses can follow.

Install proper security tools and protocols

Although experts advise companies time and time again to put data loss prevention tools like firewalls and anti-malware software in place, many businesses still don’t seem to realize how important these tools are. According to a recent study from the Ponemon Institute, 75 percent of the respondents admitted that they had no formal cyber security incident response plan applied consistently across their organizations. Even those who had a plan in place paid far too little attention to it, with 52 percent either not reviewing or updating the plan since it was implemented, or not having any plans to do so.

Security software is the first line of defense a business has against cybercrime, and to keep their data and their customers’ data secure, companies should have these tools in place.

Update security tools regularly

Installing data loss prevention software is not the end of the road, either. Cybercriminals are constantly working to improve their hacking tools and find new vulnerabilities in the firewalls businesses have in place. In order to protect against those threats, digital security providers regularly update their security tools and patch holes that hackers could exploit. In order to benefit from these updates, businesses need to regularly patch and update their security software.

Train your employees to use security tools and follow security practices

Just like if a company had a new sales program it would have a sales training program, Once a business has put a security plan in place, they need to make sure their workforce is properly trained so they are aware of and follow those protocols. This includes instructions on how to use the security tools as well as other business practices to follow to avoid putting sensitive data at risk. Proper use of email, instructions on how to formulate a secure password, and regulations on which devices are permitted to access the company network are all topics businesses should cover with their workforce on a regular basis.

Scan all devices before connecting to the network

Many employees will bring their own laptops and mobile devices to the office and use them to access the company’s secure network. Each of these devices can be an access point for cyber criminals to attempt to break into the network, so companies need to place secure practices in place to make sure these devices remain secure. A robust BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) plan can help to protect your network from unauthorized access. Regulating exactly which devices are permitted to access the network and scanning these devices thoroughly for malware can help to keep your customers’ data secure.


Lee Flynn is from the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, UT. After Lee spent years preparing himself, his home and his family, he decided he had to do more. In his free time, Lee helps educate those who want to do the same. Through small local workshops and articles, Lee trains and teaches others on home preparation, food storage techniques, wilderness survival and self reliance. After obtaining a bachelors degree from the University of Utah, Lee moved to the Salt Lake Valley where he now lives with his wife and daughter.


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