Security breaches are common today, adversely affecting organizations and users around the world regularly. Knowing the underlying incidents that cause these violations not only makes it possible for us to understand how they occur but also offers useful insight to resolve this increasing threat.
According to a Verizon study on the causes of security breaches, 62% of data breaches resulted from hacking, and 81% of those breaches used either stolen, bad, or default passwords. Social threats accounted for 43% of threats, and in 51% of data breaches, some credential-stealing malware was involved, with 28% of the data breaches investigated involving human error.
Security Breaches: The Causes
A detailed review of these figures reveals that the weakest link in the chain is human error, even though dangers such as password attacks and social engineering are involved. Outlined here are some of the common causes of data breaches that could have serious repercussions for companies:
1: Poor Password Practices
Compromised passwords acquired by credential harvesting are one of the most common causes of data breaches. The simplest way to gain access to a device is to obtain user credentials. Therefore, attackers try to manipulate the path of least resistance.
A long-identified market trait, of which even vendors are guilty, has been the propensity to prioritize convenience over protection. Recently, studies have revealed that more than 50 percent of IoT device manufacturers are unable to resolve security concerns (for example, ERP data security) emerging from weak authentication strategies they have used in the past.
The reuse of passwords, a common symptom in businesses that enforce policies for password complexity, is another common risk. For some apps, they are more likely to reuse a single complex password because users are required to recall more complicated passwords. This puts the enterprise at risk of a credential stuffing attack.
Spraying passwords is another example of a vulnerability to ERP data security. In essence, brute-forcing authentication is used in this attack with a limited collection of widely used passwords.
2: Human Errors
Human error is responsible for more than one-fifth of all security breaches. Examples are workers who leave laptops or other electronic devices in insecure locations where they can be easily stolen and workers who accidentally send confidential information to unauthorized third parties.
One more example of a simple human error that contributes to a major security breach is when someone is misconfigured by an application or database that could accidentally reveal sensitive information online.
3: Technology And Procedural Errors
Security breaches can be caused by deficiencies, such as inadequate patch management, in the security procedures adopted. As the effort required to successfully breach the system is very limited, unpatched computers are the main targets for attackers. Technology is never fool-proof, and from time to time, it will malfunction, resulting in exposed data or a device that is compromised.
Defending The Organization From A Security Breach: Some Measures
If adequately applied and handled, the necessary hygiene protocols for protection (such as vital patch management) will avoid many breaches. Implementing security regression testing can help avoid technology failures that could eventually lead to a security breach as an integral part of every implementation process, and encrypting data on mobile devices can also help prevent a violation involving a computer that has been lost or stolen.
And while many organizations agree that legitimate and accurate authentication involves passwords, they remain the Achilles heel of secure authentication practices. Companies should consider upgrading their authentication with an adaptive multi-factor authentication system that offers more protection with contextual knowledge to mitigate the real risk of a security breach caused by bad passwords. In an ever-growing security risk environment, this not only protects against bad passwords but also provides an additional layer of visibility and security for IT teams. In addition, applications for data protection and analytics that arm you with real-time insights into user activity and a host of other features will go a long way in helping you ensure data security.