Data breaches are a growing global threat. According IBM and the Ponemon Institute, data breaches reached a record level in the past two years. More than 2,200 cyberattacks occur daily, costing large enterprises $4.24 million with each attack. The most frustrating part of these recurring events is that the causes of data breaches remain substantially the same for both individuals and businesses.
Mitigation of data breaches strictly depends on the height you place on the data managed by your company. Don’t underestimate the importance of data loss prevention-this is critical given the continued proliferation of cybercrime. Knowing the most common causes of data leaks is useless unless you take steps to prevent these occurrences. In the following lines we discuss eight commonalities causes of security vulnerabilities and how to solve these problems with effective measures.
What is the number one cause of data breach? You will probably find that weak passwords are the main reason. According to the Harris Poll, 75% of Americans are duly frustrated with maintaining secure passwords. Of this number, more than 24% use common passwords such as sequential numbers, a single word, or a combination of three letters and three numbers. 49% of password users only change a single character or number in their password when prompted to update them.
Keeping a strong password is not that difficult. Many cybersecurity experts agree that combining a single sentence with different cases and numbers is more than enough. A single word won’t do since you’re usually choosing something inherent to your character. Hackers with experience in social engineering can pick this up to figure out your digital keys. If keeping track of your passwords is a chore, we suggest investing in a reliable password manager service to make your life easier.
Criminal hacking—that’s what causes the majority of data breaches. These are planned attacks by cybercriminals always looking to exploit computer systems or networks. Some common techniques include Phishing, password attacks, SQL Injections, malware infection, and DNS spoofing. Cyber actors know these methods and know how to identify entry points or weaknesses in the network infrastructure of large organizations.
Criminal hacking occurs because many companies fail to implement adequate security measures. One of the best ways to prevent data loss implements an appropriate set of protective measures. With a solid DLP strategy, you can avoid cyberattacks and protect your data. Monitoring tools also identify anomalies, so you’ll know when a cyberattack is happening. A helpless company may be targeted and never notice the data leak until it’s too late.
Application vulnerabilities and backdoors
As for apps, the most common cause of data breaches is usually an unpatched vulnerability. Applications are not built on perfect frameworks; these are software with vulnerabilities. A faulty app can be a backdoor to steal data such as your name, email address, or even bank details. Initially, these cracks go unnoticed by software vendors and regular users, while cyber criminals find them to initiate a zero day attack.
Most companies constantly test their software against any potential attacks to counter these exploits. When a company finds a vulnerability, they release a patch to address any security issues. That’s why many apps on your phone or laptop frequently request updates. You should accept these data patches quickly to increase your security and keep your devices and apps running smoothly.
Social engineering is the number one cause of data breach for businesses and organizations around the world. Most cybercriminals are good at social engineering since it is much easier than creating access points to exploit a system. Social engineering attacks rely on psychological manipulation to trick users into giving up their credentials. These attacks are carried out using emails, text messages, social networks and even calls.
The best way to prevent social engineering attacks is to pay close attention to any requests made in suspicious emails, calls or messages. No company asks for login information or personal data, especially not banks or payment platforms. Look at small details such as grammar and syntaxes. If you are called, write down the details requested, but never give out sensitive information over the phone. Most social engineering scams are conducted outside of the United States by people claiming to be representative of a company you regularly deal with.
Phishing, malware and ransomware
When identifying what is the most common cause of data breach, it always comes down to one of these three. Phishing is a social engineering attack where cybercriminals manipulate their victims into divulging their personal information. Phishing scams are conducted primarily through email, often appealing to your sense of urgency or your desire to win or receive mega prizes.
then, we have malware attacks— where cybercriminals use malware to break into a system or network. Cyber actors usually disguise malware as executable files or links that you need to interact with to inject the malicious code into your systems. Ransomware works the same way. The only difference is that this program is designed to prevent you from accessing your data or system and keep it until you pay to access it.
The best way to prevent these attacks is to have a very critical eye. You should always look at the sender address of any email, especially if it urges you to take action. Do not click on links or open files sent by unknown senders and avoid untrustworthy websites. Carefully examine these links, URLs and files and keep your anti-virus up to date. Antiviruses can detect most malware threats and remove them from your systems.
Mismanagement of permissions
How many people have access to your company’s data feed? Many IT departments are happy to offer a key log to anyone who needs access to the corporate network at any time. You can’t afford to give these permissions so easily. When identifying what causes security vulnerabilitiesyou’ll probably find out how much too many permissions puts you at risk.
If it is necessary to have continuous access to all team members, keep an access log. Make sure it shows who is accessing your systems, where they are going and what they are taking. You can optionally manage the number of people who need restricted or limited access. Access protocols are part of any solid DLP strategy and are a great way to protect your data.
User error and insider threats
If you ask someone from IT, what causes the majority of data breaches, they’ll tell you it’s the people. The worst part about this answer is that they are right. Humans are the weakest link in any security measure to protect your company’s digital assets. A weak password, incorrect data extraction and lack of email security best practices can result in a data breach worth thousands of dollars.
On the other hand, we have internal threats. Disgruntled employees can cause more damage to a business than hackers. If you’re getting the bad vibes from someone who works for you, it’s best to restrict their access before things go awry. An insider threat can easily lead to loss of exposure to IP data.
Are you sure your premises are safe and secure? A die causes of security vulnerabilities is physical attacks. Not all hackers sit in a dirty basement to spy on you. Many of them take proactive measures to gain access to your system. Cyber actors are often very knowledgeable about human psychology. There’s nothing stopping them from using their online charm in the real world.
Cybercriminals can easily disguise themselves as delivery people or even company employees to gain access to your computers or servers. Once there, it only takes them a few seconds to plant their malicious code via a USB key. Even though it sounds complex, these criminals are not above the challenge. You can solve this problem by implementing a strict access policy for your building, such as the use of badges, especially for sensitive areas.
Know the causes of data breaches and how to mitigate them is paramount to cybersecurity. Determine what is data loss prevention? to your business and implement protocols to protect your data.
Knowledge is the best defense against data leaks. You and your team must understand the machinations of these events.
Train your team to have stronger passwords. Teach them the dangers of criminal hacking. Make sure they know the importance of updating their systems with the latest security patches. It is also crucial to train them to understand the risks of social engineering and how malware, phishing and ransomware can affect the business.
Also, keep a close eye out for improper permissions and insider threats. Your data is your company’s most valuable asset and you should do everything to protect it.
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*** This is an EasyDMARC Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog written by EasyDmarc. Read the original post at: https://easydmarc.com/blog/8-most-common-causes-of-a-data-breach/