CodeAspire > Blog > What is Data Breach & How Does It Happens?
Anybody could be a victim of Data Breaching— from individuals to high-level enterprises and governments.
Usually data breach happens due to loopholes in:
2. User behavior
As our computers and mobiles get more connective features, there are more places for data to slip through. Protection and avoiding data theft is more important these days as the development of new technologies is very fast.
Devices in the IoT sector are proof that we are increasingly valuing convenience over security.
Hackers nowadays take advantage of iOT devices and home appliances having lack of encryption and decryption.
Since new digital products, services, and tools are being used with minimal security testing, we’ll continue to see this problem grow.
However, even if the backend technology was set up perfectly, some users will likely still have poor digital habits. All it takes is one person to compromise a website or network.
Without comprehensive security at both the user and enterprise levels, you are almost guaranteed to be at risk.
Protecting yourself and others starts with understanding how a data breach occurs.
How Data Breaching takes place?
The assumption is that a data breach is caused by an outside hacker, but that's not always true.
Reasons for how data breaches happen might sometimes be traced back to intentional attacks. However, it can just as easily result from a simple oversight by individuals or flaws in a company’s infrastructure.
Here’s how a data breach can occur:
An Accidental Insider. An example would be an employee using a co-worker's computer and reading files without having the proper authorization permissions. The access is unintentional, and no information is shared. However, because it was viewed by an unauthorized person, the data is considered breached.
A Malicious Insider: This person purposely accesses and/or shares data with the intent of causing harm to an individual or company. The malicious insider may have legitimate authorization to use the data, but the intent is to use the information in nefarious ways.
Lost or Stolen Devices: An unencrypted and unlocked laptop or external hard drive — anything that contains sensitive information — goes missing.
Malicious Outside Criminals. These are hackers who use various attack vectors to gather information from a network or an individual.
Malicious Methods used to Breach Data
Since malicious data breaches result from cyber attacks, you should know what to watch for.
Here are some popular methods used by hackers
2. Brute Force Attacks
Phishing: These social engineering attacks are designed to fool you into causing a data breach. Phishing attackers pose as people or organizations you trust to easily deceive you. Criminals of this nature try to coax you into handing over access to sensitive data or provide the data itself.
Brute force attacks: In a more brash approach, hackers might enlist software tools to guess your passwords work through all the possibilities for your password until they guess correctly. These attacks take some time but have become rapid as computer speeds continue to improve. Hackers even hijack other devices like yours via malware infections to speed up the process. If your password is weak, it might only take a few seconds to crack it.
Malware: Your device’s operating system, software, hardware, or the network and servers you’re connected to can have security flaws. These gaps in protection are sought out by criminals as the perfect place to shove malware into. Spyware specifically is ideal for stealing private data while being completely undetected. You might not find this infection until it’s too late.
Which kind of theft is data breach and what is actually targeted?
Although a data breach can be the result of an innocent mistake, real damage is possible if the person with unauthorized access steals and sells Personally Identifiable Information (PII) or corporate intellectual data for financial gain or to cause harm.
Malicious criminals tend to follow a basic pattern: targeting an organization for a breach takes planning. They research their victims to learn where the vulnerabilities are, such as missing or failed updates and employee susceptibility to phishing campaigns.
Hackers learn a target's weak points, then develop a campaign to get insiders to mistakenly download malware. Sometimes they go after the network directly.
Once inside, malicious criminals have the freedom to search for the data they want — and lots of time to do it, as the average breach takes more than five months to detect.
Common vulnerabilities targeted by malicious criminals include the following:
Weak credentials:. The vast majority of data breaches are caused by stolen or weak credentials. If malicious criminals have your username and password combination, they have an open door into your network. Because most people reuse passwords, cybercriminals can use brute forece attacks to gain entrance to email, websites, bank accounts, and other sources of PII or financial information.
Stolen credentials: Breaches caused by phishing are a major security issue and if cyber criminals get hold of this Personal information, they can use it to access things like your bank and online accounts.
Compromised assets. Various malware attacks
are used to negate regular authentication steps that would normally protect a computer.
Payment Card Fraud. Card skimmers attach to gas pumps or ATMs and steal data whenever a card is swiped.
Third-party access: Although you may do everything possible to keep your network and data secure, malicious criminals could use third-party vendors to make their way into your system.
Mobile Devices: When employees are allowed to bring their own devices (BYOD) into the workplace, it's easy for unsecured devices to download malware-laden apps that give hackers to data stored on the device. That often includes work email and files as well as the owner's PII.
Of course, the best way to protect yourself is to avoid being a victim in the first place. No security plan is perfect, but there are ways you can defend yourself — whether you’re an individual or an enterprise.
How to prevent being a Data Breach victim?
Data breach prevention needs to include everyone at all levels — from end-users to IT personnel, and all people in between.
When you’re trying to plan how to prevent data breach attacks or leaks, security is only as strong as the weakest link. Every person that interacts with a system can be a potential vulnerability. Even small children with a tablet on your home network can be a risk.
Here are a few best practices to avoid a data breach
- Patching and updating software as soon as options are available.
- High-grade encryption for sensitive data.
- Upgrading devices when the software is no longer supported by the manufacturer.
- Enforcing BYOD security policies, like requiring all devices to use a business-grade VPN and Antivirus protection.
- Enforcing strong credentials and multi-factor authentication to encourage better user cybersecurity practices. Encouraging users to start using a password manager can help.
- Educating employees on best security practices and ways to avoid socially engineered attacks.