Security breaches are growing sophisticated and rampant, adversely impacting organizations across the globe. It is important for organizations to identify all the underlying incidents that lead to these security breaches. This is to not only understand the reason behind their occurrence, but also to harness valuable insights to tactfully and efficiently counter the growing number of threats.
It has been seen that the leading causes of security breaches include data breaches due to hacking and breaches done by default or weak passwords. Social security breaches also account for a significant fraction of cyberattacks, whereas data breaches that involve credentials stealing malware have also been growing at a rapid rate. Human errors have also contributed to a palpable extent of data breaches in organizations.
Key Reasons Behind Security Breaches
Working with cloud providers renders organizations to understand and follow the shared responsibility model. However, most organizations are unaware of the part of cloud providers in shared responsibility and the part they need to act on themselves. A common reason behind security breaches is the assumption of organizations that default configurations work appropriately.
Compromised passwords have been a major reason for security breaches in recent years, which are stolen through credential harvesting. Access to user credentials is an easy way for accessing systems, which cyberattackers usually exploit as it is an area with least resistance. For example, at the Justus Liebig University (JLU) based in Germany, more than 38,000 students were notified of receiving new passwords because of malware breach.
Human errors are responsible for more than one quarter of the security breaches. Some examples include employees leaving their devices in locations vulnerable to attacks and inadvertently emailing critical information to third parties that are unauthorized. A key instance of basic human error that results in adverse security breaches is misconfiguration of a database or application. This has a great potential of mistakenly exposing sensitive information.
In security the areas that involve are people, technology, and processes. There are errors in radical security processes. For example, improper patch management results in security breaches. Similar to passwords, unpatched systems have been a potential target for cyberattackers, as efforts involved in successful system breaches are very low. Technology is not perfect. There are many areas where failures may occur periodically, which results in a compromised system.
How Organizations Can Safeguard Against Security Breaches
Basic security hygiene processes, managed and implemented correctly will mitigate several breaches caused by hacking. Organizations must look to ensure that security regression testing is an indispensable part of their deployment processes to prevent technology failures which result in security breaches. They must also look to encrypt data on mobile devices to prevent security breaches involving stolen or lost devices.
While several organizations assume passwords are vital for secure and valid authentication, these are actually the achilles heel of authentication practices. For mitigating real threats of security breaches arising from weak or default passwords, organizations must consider reinforcing their authentication practices with adaptive multi-factor authentication solutions that provide robust security with contextual awareness.