How Data Breaches Happen
Multiple factors often cause data breaches. Some of these factors are human error. Cybercriminals use new technologies and techniques to steal sensitive information. Insiders can also exploit security weaknesses. But what exactly happens when a security breach occurs? How does an attacker get data? This article will examine some of the most common causes of data breaches. Also, learn how data breaches happen and how to protect your company’s systems. There are three basic steps to prevent a data breach.
Insiders Can Exploit Data Breaches
One of the most common ways insiders can exploit a data breach is by using stolen information—many high-profile incidents involving insiders stealing data, including a CIA hack and a violation at Boeing. But insiders are not the only threat. Even insiders who are disloyal to a company can use stolen information. For example, a commercial director may take all the company’s clients with him and hire them elsewhere. Similarly, information disclosed to the media may not cause much damage – for example, a student who stole a design might not sell it.
One of the most infamous examples of this type of attack occurred when a government contractor, John Murray Rowe, accidentally released hundreds of thousands of classified information to an undercover FBI agent. Moreover, numerous other examples of insiders breached information, including emails, files, and systems protected by passwords. For example, the federal government’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM) recently revealed that a federal contractor emailed 300 emails to an undercover FBI agent to give the agency information about US national defense. Insiders have access to information, including sensitive data, so that even the highest-ranking employees can gain access to confidential information.
Human Error is a Common Cause
According to a study by IBM, human error is the most common cause of data breaches. While we can make mistakes, we tend to overlook them, which is why we should continually educate employees to secure sensitive information. One way to reduce the chance of human error is to inform employees about the risks of phishing scams. Therefore, it is critical to protect employees from phishing scams by training them about the dangers of clicking on them.
Another common cause of data breaches is a lack of knowledge. People unfamiliar with their job’s ins and outs are prone to be phished, exposing sensitive information, or harvesting their credentials. Organizations need to ensure that staff is knowledgeable enough to avoid these scenarios. This is the first step in preventing data breaches. It is also essential to implement policies and procedures that protect data.
Cybercriminals Use Newer Techniques and Technologies to Steal Data
The number of cases of cybercrime is on the rise. According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, 269,422 complaints were made in 2014, with an adjusted dollar loss of $800,492,0731. But this number only reflects crimes that have been reported; many victims do not report these crimes due to the embarrassment associated with such actions. Even if you don’t say a cybercrime, it is essential to protect your backup data in case of a loss.
One of the most common forms of identity theft involves using stolen financial information to commit fraudulent transactions. This occurs anytime a person logs on to a website or accesses a financial account. For example, it can happen through webmail, video streaming services, or online auction sites. In addition to financial data, identity thieves also target personal health information. Once they obtain this information, they can make significant financial losses and ruin their credit history.
Typically, data breaches occur when hackers exploit known vulnerabilities in the system code of a software and other applications. These vulnerabilities allow cybercriminals to gain access to a computer without the knowledge or consent of the computer’s owner. In addition, these vulnerabilities are often present in old versions of operating systems or other applications that are no longer updated, giving hackers more significant opportunities to exploit them. While these vulnerabilities are typically not malicious, they should be fixed as soon as possible to prevent a data breach.
While hackers constantly develop new methods of exploiting security vulnerabilities, many standard security practices can help prevent these occurrences. For example, employees should use complex, unique passwords for all company accounts. They should also use two-factor authentication on sensitive accounts. In addition, they should be vigilant about installing updated software and patching security patches. A breach can occur due to an employee forgetting to change a weak password or an email with a malicious link.
Target Anyone with Online Accounts
The most recent major breach of personal data happened in February 2018. It affected Exactis, a Florida-based marketing company. The breach resulted in the compromise of an online database containing nearly 340 million records. These records included names, email addresses, phone numbers, interests, and even dates of birth. Additionally, the breach exposed information about millions of businesses. While these breaches may seem unrelated to the company, they can be highly damaging.
The type of data stolen by cyber criminals in these breaches varies. For example, cybercriminals may use malware, viruses, or spyware to access credit card or debit card information. Others may use stolen cards to commit fraudulent activities, such as stealing health insurance credentials. In many cases, the attackers use the stolen credentials on multiple platforms. This means they may access the victim’s social media accounts, email address, and online banking accounts.
Lead to Financial Loss
A data breach can cause a lot of financial damage to companies. The costs of a breach are not only monetary but can also include the cost of hardening systems and paying fines. It can also mean higher client turnover and lost revenue due to a damaged reputation. These losses are especially devastating for small businesses. According to a study, as much as 38% of businesses lost more than 20 percent of their profits after a data breach.
Even if the breach is limited to personal data, it can cause considerable damage to an organization. While breaches in larger companies are less costly, the loss of customers can be devastating. This is why companies should take the time to secure their systems. In addition, while data breaches can lead to financial loss, they can also lead to reputational damage. For example, a government agency that is not sufficiently secure could be subject to an attack by a foreign government, exposing sensitive information to the public.