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How Do Data Breaches Take Place and Why It’s Important to Know

Filip TRUȚĂ

August 30, 2022

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How Do Data Breaches Take Place and Why It’s Important to Know

Not a day goes by without someone reporting a data breach somewhere on the globe. While the victimized organizations certainly suffer from these attacks, inadvertently so do the consumers.

In fact, some breaches can end up harming the consumer more than the company targeted. That’s why, in recent years, data protection authorities have laid down new laws and guidelines designed to force companies to handle our data with care. Cybersecurity vendors have upped their game to offer solutions designed to help companies protect user data and avoid getting fined. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done, and data breaches make headlines  daily. So, why does this keep happening?

The human layer

Despite the plethora of solutions at hand to keep hackers at bay, organizations big and small share a very common and very dangerous vulnerability that can’t always be accounted for – human error.

Social engineering schemes, like spear phishing and CEO impersonation, are designed to trick employees into divulging company data, making money transfers to the hackers’ account, or giving away login credentials to enable the attacker to gain a foothold in the infrastructure.

Supply chain attacks

Another lucrative attack vector is to infiltrate an organization by targeting less-secure elements in the supply chain, such as by hacking a partner company that supplies it with software or services. Threat actors typically mess with a software product or a planned software update by lacing it with malware.

This is how the widely reported SolarWinds hack occurred, affecting countless users of its Orion software platform, including federal institutions.

Unpatched endpoints

Sometimes, even if threat actors manage to get past the first line of defense, they still have to evade detection by the IT team and exploit weaknesses to get a foothold in the target infrastructure. This is where unpatched software plays a crucial role in the attack kill-chain.

Organizations face a constant uphill battle with software vulnerabilities. Failing to deploy the latest bug fixes opens the door to attacks designed to exploit those software flaws.

We as consumers have no way to prevent these attacks. But we can take steps to secure our digital identity if a company we’re registered with suffers a breach. Using an antivirus further ensures that our devices are protected against attacks that leverage leaked or stolen data.

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