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The Most Common Causes Of Data Breach And How To Address

A data breach happens when cybercriminals deploy a cyberattack to steal confidential data from a computerized system. Data breaches occur more often than you can imagine. For various organizations, this can be a disaster, especially now in the age of technology. One reason why a data breach can badly affect an organization is that it damages its reputation. If cybercriminals obtain data illegally, this leaves the impression that such an organization isn’t trustworthy. It ultimately leads to a loss of sales if such an organization is a business. Data breaches can also endanger customer/client information as they reach the hands of the perpetrators. When customer information is compromised, organizations may face legal consequences.

For such reason, knowing what to do to avoid a data breach is vital. One way to do so is to learn some patch management best practices. Patch management is about updating your systems so no threats can trespass on them and steal valuable information.

But to ultimately avert potential threats, knowing the most common causes of data breaches is an excellent approach. This article will tackle the common causes and how to deal with them.

The Most Common Causes Of Data Breaches


As said earlier, data breaches can damage a business’s reputation with its customers, leading to a loss of sales. That’s why organizations must identify the most common causes of why data breaches occur to prevent this from happening. Read on to learn what those common causes are.

  • Malware 

Malware, also known as malicious software, is a type of cyberattack in which a hacker tries to send harmful programs or code to your devices with the aim of breaching data. Likewise, it also aims to destroy or damage tablets, computers, networks, mobile devices, and computer systems. Viruses, Trojan viruses, worms, adware, spyware, and ransomware are malware that you should be wary of.

There are various signs that you can use to determine if you’ve become a victim of malware attacks, such as:

  • Your computer’s operating system (OS) speed is slower than usual   
  • You lost access to your computer or files  
  • You notice an unexplained loss of disk space  
  • Your system crashes  
  • Your system has an unusual increase in internet activity  
  • Your screen is overwhelmed by intrusive ads  
  • You see changes in your browser’s settings  
  • Your antivirus software is disabled and won’t turn on  

That said, caution should still be applied even if your computer system functions normally. For one, advanced forms of malware can conceal themselves deep inside your computer. They can steal your information without your detection.  

  • Social Engineering  

Another type of cyberattack that can result in data breaches is social engineering. It’s a manipulation strategy that uses human error to obtain unwanted access to confidential data or other assets.

Generally, this ‘human hacking’ scam tries to deceive unsuspecting victims into spreading malware infections, exposing information, or providing entry into restricted systems. This scam can occur in person, online, or through other interactions.

Today, hackers deploy various techniques to begin a social engineering attack, such as:  

  • Baiting: This technique persuades the victim to do a specific activity by giving quick access to something such victim wants. For instance, a universal serial bus (USB) flash drive infected with a keylogger has a description stating it has private pictures of another person, which was then placed at a victim’s doorstep.
  • Pretexting: This social engineering technique uses a pretext (a false justification for a particular route of conduct to obtain trust and deceive a user. For instance, the cybercriminal disguises them self as someone who is part of IT support and then asks the target for its password to conduct false maintenance.

Other techniques used for social engineering are Quid pro quo, tailgating, spear phishing, and scareware.

How To Address The Most Common Causes Of Data Breach


Now that you have taken the first step to address a data breach by learning two of the most common causes of why it occurs, it’s time to take the next course of action. For one, you must know how to address such causes to avoid further issues. Continue reading to learn two of those ways.

  • Conduct Cybersecurity Training

Training your staff about cybersecurity is one way to prevent a data breach. Today, most cyberattacks aim to use human error to obtain data. Thus, it makes sense to educate your staff about cybersecurity.

To start with this type of training, some steps that you can implement are:

  • Ask for support and participation from your organization’s leaders  
  • Conduct risk assessment reports to know the most significant cybersecurity risks that your training needs to focus on  
  • Schedule mock-up phishing attacks  
  • Offer interactive cybersecurity training courses  
  • Retrain your staff regularly  
  • Employ new cybersecurity policies  

Ultimately, your organization can combine cybersecurity training with other measures to prevent data breaches. It helps in avoiding downtime, loss of reputation, and financial loss.

  • Conduct A Security Audit

A security audit is a systematic assessment of the security of an organization’s information technology (IT) system. It does so to determine whether such an organization aligns with the industry’s best practices, federal laws, or externally established set of criteria.  

Generally, a thorough security audit will examine an organization’s security controls regarding the following:  

  • Applications and software, such as security patches, your systems administrators have employed.  
  • Physical components of your IT system and the environment in which such system is placed.  
  • The human factor, such as how your staff share, collect, and store highly confidential data.  
  • Network vulnerabilities, such as data assessment as it goes between various points within and outside an organization’s network.  

Over time, a security audit helps address cybersecurity risks within your organization. It allows you to be better prepared against a data breach.

To Sum Up on Data Breach

A data breach is a cyberattack that can negatively affect an organization in many ways. Two of the most common data breach causes are malware and social engineering. Luckily, there are ways to address this issue, like providing cybersecurity training and performing a security audit. Eventually, applying these two examples to addressing a data breach ensures your organization will operate without further issues.

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