What is Data Breach & How it Happens

Data Breach is a major threat to the businesses of all sizes belonging to different industries, locations or reputation. If a org suffers a major data breach, the outcomes may range from big fines and settlements to long-time brand damage, loss of potential customers and worst of all that they may also run out of business.

Data Breach is a significant threat to businesses of all sizes belonging to different industries, locations, or reputations. If an org suffers a major breach, the outcomes may range from hefty fines and settlements to long-time brand damage, loss of potential customers, and worst of all, they may also run out of business.

In this article, I will introduce Data Breaches and the most commonly used attack vectors the hackers rely on to get hold of sensitive files. I will also add some advice on preventing data breaches, so read along to see what steps you can take to protect your business from breach attempts.

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What is Data Breach

A Data Breach refers to a security incident in which an unauthorized person may access, copy, or disclose the protected data without the permission or knowledge of the owner.

Data breaches pose significant threats to organizations, ranging from small and medium to large business corporations and government entities.

A data breach comes with a financial penalty from fines and lawsuits, but the victims often suffer from long-term reputation hits. They can outright lose the right to continue their operations in specific regions or sectors. In 2021 alone, the average cost of suffering a breach was approximately $4.24 Million, which saw a rise of 10% compared to the stats of 2020.

How Do Data Breaches Happen?

In most cases, the reason for a breach is either a security vulnerability, loopholes in the protocols, or a human error. Statistically speaking, most of these data breaches occur due to malware or hacking, but other reasons are:

  • The loss of a portable device with sensitive data (24%).
  • Insider Leaks (12%).
  • Accidental data exposure (17.4%).
  • Physical loss of documents and files (11.6%).
  • The theft of a device (5.4%).
  • Credit card frauds (1.4%).
Common causes of a data breach with statistics - therootdroid
Common causes of a data breach

While a small number of these data breaches (around 3.2%) occur for unknown reasons, on the other hand, some companies do not want to disclose the way their files were compromised, while some have an idea what caused the data breach.

Following is the list of most common scenarios that can lead to a breach:

  1. Use of weak passwords, which allows hackers to crack down the credentials of the company’s employees.
  2. Opening a malicious email link that installs malware on the company’s device.
  3. An unpatched software that allows attackers to install a backdoor on the device.
  4. Accidentally granting access to the device to the wrong person.
  5. Employee losing a laptop that has no encryption on the data.
  6. A discontented insider or an ex-employee sharing the data with an intent to harm the organization.
  7. An attacker uses credential stuffing and exploiting the lack of 2-Factor Authentication to log into an employee account.
  8. A hacker leveraging a misconfigured web or app server to install malware on it.

Also Read

Which Are Top Roles in Data Analysis?

What Are Data Breach Methods?

An attacker behind a data breach may use various techniques to exploit overlooks in technology and uncareful user behavior. Some of the important tactics are listed below:

  1. Brute Force -> Hackers use a brute force attack to guess the victim’s passwords. A top-tier may crack a simple password in less than a second; that is why brute force prevention is the priority of a security-aware team.
  2. Malware -> If a hacker has successfully installed malware on a company device or server, he will be able to create a permanent entry point into the system.
  3. Spyware -> Spyware is software that can anonymously gather information about a person or an organization and send the data to the hacker without alerting the security team.
  4. Phishing -> Phishing is a social engineering technique that aims to fool the victim into clicking on a malicious link or sharing their information.
  5. 3rd-Party Weakness -> Even if you can successfully secure your local network, the hacker may go after a 3rd-Party partner such as a cloud provider with weaker security measures.
  6. Physical Thefts -> Stealing the devices to access the data is the most common technique.
  7. Skimming -> Skimming involves a program that collects credit card data at a point of sales (POS) device or a website.

What Are Preventions To Avoid Data Breach?

While businesses cannot stop the hackers from attempting to cause a data breach, they can adopt best practices that will ensure that the hackers cannot succeed in their attempts.

Precautions for data breach - therootdroid
Precautions for data breach

Following is a list of advice for protecting yourself from data breaches:

  • Ensure that all the devices, systems, and networks are updated to the latest patches to prevent exploits of outdated software.
  • Host cybersecurity awareness training to educate your employees about social engineering tactics and teach them how to act if they detect suspicious activities.
  • Improve your cybersecurity by deploying IDS (Intrusion Detection System), robust firewalls, anti-virus, cloud security policies, VPNs, endpoint threat detection, and cyber kill chains.
  • Use Zero-Trust-Security and network segmentation to prevent an attacker from quickly moving between the internal systems.
  • Enforce the use of unique and strong passwords for each account and ensure that the employees update the passwords regularly.
  • Create a disaster recovery plan and use data backups to ensure that the business can quickly recover from the data breach attempts.
  • Run regular vulnerability assessments and penetration tests to measure your system’s resilience against different data breach methods.
Shantanu Choudhary
Shantanu Choudhary

Fueled by a passion for cutting-edge IT, I have found a home at TheRootDroid where I get to dissect complex tech topics and break them down into practical, easy-to-digest articles.

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