Top 6 Causes of Data Breaches
- November 11, 2020
For any organisation, a data breach can be a disaster. Data breaches are inevitable. If your organisation saves sensitive data then you will experience a data breach at some point. The longer it goes unnoticed the more damaging it to the reputation and processes of your organisation.
The compromising of secure customer information and internal data such as transaction history, privileged information is an event that no organisation wants to experience. Beyond the immediate financial action of fraud order placements and the bank transfers, the loss of customer faith can affect the business.
Knowing what causes a data breach is the first step to take in preventing one. Then you will be able to mitigate the threats before they manifest themselves into a breach. So, what are the top reasons why data breaches happen?
The major causes of data breaches
1) Criminal Hacking
Criminal hacking is the top cause of data breaches because it’s often necessary to conduct a specific attack. Data breach also depends on how many activities criminal hacking encompasses. It’s basically associated with computer coding. The most common criminal hacking involved with stolen credentials. This doesn’t require any technical knowledge; offender can purchase the credential on the dark web, find them written down, crack them using password generating machine.
Once the black hat has the users login credential they can perform any number of criminal activities, extracting information to commit fraud attacks.
2) Human Error
Unfortunately one of the biggest causes of data breach is not security bug, it is human error. Human errors are responsible for 52 percent of the root causes of security breaches. The specific nature of the error may vary. Some of them are,
- Sending sensitive information to the wrong recipients
- Falling for phishing scams
- Use of weak passwords
- Sharing the account information
Many of these errors can be reduced by training the employee their basic data security measures.
3) Social Engineering
Researchers found that quarter of the data breaches are caused by the scammer. The process of phishing in which the cyber criminals send the malicious emails or messages which look authorized but actually not.
Social engineering also causes threats of financial excuses i.e. pretexting. Pretexting is similar to phishing. They contact their targets under false pretences to gain the information. They simply request the target to send them the financial details. Once they got the data and information they can simply do the fraud actions.
Malware is also a common data breach. Malware attack happens when the hacker leaves malware in the system and uses it to import document, scan data, managing sensitive data etc. Keyboard tracking can be done using malware attacks; through this, the black hat may get passwords.
5) Unauthorised Use
One in twelve data breaches is caused by a member of staff using information improperly. This can be happening by an employee who misuses information they have been given access to. This is not necessarily for the malicious purpose; it can happen accidentally due to organisation inappropriate access controls. Another cause is the employee could have ignored access policies, without following the correct procedure.
Data mishandling can be another cause for the data breach. Data misleading occurs when sensitive information is copied, shared, accessed or stolen.
6) Physical Actions
We think that data breach is a result of cyber crime but there are a significant number of incidents which don’t need technology at all. Most of the physical action includes the theft of phones, laptops, hard drives, USB drives and storage devices. If the employee doesn’t keep an eye on their assets the physical breach can also occur. Another common physical action is card skimming.
Finally – How to prevent data breaches
Although there are more data breaches that happen regularly, these are the most common one. When you can manage the above data breaches somehow, you can resolve half of the issues. You can address it quickly and reduce the potential attack surface.
By understanding the most common causes of the data breach you will be able to mitigate the threats before they manifest into breach. Then you can create a security structure with less data breaches and cyber threats. This can only be achieved with right IT team and proper employee guidance.