Now that we have discussed what security and data breaches are, it's time to take a look at some of the elements that are involved in, or can lead to, a security or data breach.
Employee error is one of the leading causes of security breaches. 47% of business leaders have stated that human error has been responsible for loss of documents and applications. They cite employee carelessness as having caused a data breach at their company.
This error could come in the form of unsecured files and folders, accidentally leaving documents open, overgenerous file and data sharing permission, sharing or emailing files with the wrong person or location, and incorrect security tool configurations leaving data exposed.
The best way to prevent these types of breaches is to train employees in the handling of sensitive data.
Malware is also commonly used as part of attacks that ultimately steal data. Cybercriminals may rely on malware that is installed to steal credentials or ransom corporate computers.
A lot of the time, employees accidentally install malware onto computers by opening an unverified email. They also may download malware disguised as a legitimate application.
Most malware infects not only the computer of the person who initially downloads it, but is also designed to move laterally to infect the other computers on the network as well. This makes it easy for information to be stolen at multiple points in the network.
Email impersonation of other individuals or organizations is another way that hackers gain access to a company to then steal data. This is generally known as 'phishing.'
Attackers target employees with legitimate-looking emails from seemingly trustworthy sources. When the employee opens the email or email attachment, or clicks on a URL, this triggers a malware infection on the employee’s computer, which is the first step in a data breach.
One of the most common uses of phishing is to obtain financial information. Many of these messages are marked 'urgent' and make the reader think that they must update their payment information in order to get paid or remain employed. Make sure that your employees are able to spot phishing emails so that you don't pay the price.