Hardly a day goes by without reports of confidential data breaches making headlines. Data leakage, also known as low and slow data theft, is a major data security issue and the damage done to any organization, regardless of size or industry, can be severe. From falling revenues to tarnished reputations or hefty financial fines to devastating lawsuits, this is a threat any organization will want to protect itself from.

A data breach is the unauthorized transfer of data to an external destination or recipient within an organization. The term can be used to describe data that is transmitted electronically or physically. Data breach threats typically originate from the Internet and email, but can also occur through removable storage devices such as optical media, USB drives, and laptops.

Variations of Data Breach

There are many different types of data breaches, and it’s important to understand that problems can be caused by external or internal sources. Security measures should cover all areas to ensure protection against the most common threats of data breaches. An “unauthorized” data breach does not necessarily mean intentional or malicious. The good news is that most data breaches happen by accident.

For example, an employee may accidentally select the wrong recipient when sending an email containing sensitive data. Unfortunately, inadvertent data breaches can result in the same fines and reputational damage as they do not reduce legal liability.

When we think of a data breach, we are referring to data stored on stolen or lost laptops, or data leaked via email. However, the vast majority of data loss does not occur on electronic media; this happens through printers, cameras, copiers, removable USB drives, and even dipping into trash cans for discarded documents.

Data Leak Mishappenings at Workspace

  • While an employee can sign an employment contract that signifies trust between the employer and the employee, there is nothing to prevent them from later leaking sensitive information from the building if they are unhappy or are promised a hefty salary from cybercriminals.
  • Many organizations provide employees with access to the Internet, email, and instant messaging as part of their responsibilities. The problem is that all of these tools are capable of transferring files or accessing external resources on the Internet. Malware is often used to target these tools with high success rates.
  • For example, a cybercriminal can easily spoof a legitimate corporate email account and request that sensitive information is sent. The user will inadvertently submit the information that may contain financial data or sensitive pricing information.

Attacks Succeed with Phishing

Phishing attacks are another cyberattack method with a high success rate in data breaches. By simply clicking on a link and visiting a web page containing malicious code, an attacker can gain access to a computer or network to obtain the necessary information.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

Threats are real, and real threats require serious data breach prevention. Data Loss Prevention (DLP) is a strategy to ensure that end-users do not send sensitive or confidential information outside the corporate network. These policies may include a combination of user and security policies and security tools.

DLP software solutions allow administrators to set business rules that categorize sensitive and confidential information so that it cannot be maliciously or accidentally disclosed by unauthorized end users. The Forcepoint DLP solution makes it easy to discover and control all sensitive data and identify the most dangerous users in seconds. Whether you need to apply source code controls, technical drawings, financial data, or sensitive trade secrets, the DLP solution gives you control over critical data without impacting productivity or progress.

Instances of Data Breach

  • In July 2020, a 35-year-old man was arrested in Delhi on suspicion of hacking into his former employers’ systems and deleting sensitive information from their databases. According to police, the man was a software engineer at the company and used his knowledge of the company’s systems to cause them financial loss after he was fired.
  • In April 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice accused a man of delaying shipments from a medical device packaging company by sabotaging their electronic delivery records.

These are just two of a growing number of incidents over the past two years in which employees have posed a threat to the security of organizations. According to a report from Michigan’s Ponemon Institute, insider threats have increased in the past two years and costs have increased.

The Institute interviewed 1,004 IT and IT security professionals in 278 organizations that experienced one or more material insider-driven events. In total, the study presents 6803 internal incidents.

This comes against the backdrop of employees who have mostly worked remotely for the past two years. Therefore, some employees pay attention to more technologies than they fit, and this has led to an increase in internal security threats.

Raise in Security Threats

The institute surveyed 1,004 IT and IT security professionals in 278 organizations that experienced one or more major internal-related incidents. In total, the study raised 6,803 insider incidents.

This is happening in the context of employees who have been working remotely for most of the past two years. As a result, some employees are looking for more technology than they fit, which leads to an increase in insider security threats.

The Ponemon Institute report categorizes insider threats as negligent or negligent actions by employees or contractors, criminal or malicious insiders, or credential theft. Credential theft involves illegally obtaining an organization’s confidential passwords. The report says that insider threats have increased across all three profiles, but those caused by employee negligence or negligence are the most common.

These are just two of a growing number of incidents in which employees pose a threat to organizational security over the past two years. Insider threats have increased over the past two years, according to a report from the Michigan-based Ponemon Institute.

Therefore, experts believe that cybersecurity should be a major concern for business leaders. However, security experts have a different story to tell. According to Vishak Raman, director of security at Cisco India, the growing reliance on virtual interactions and the increase in the number of connected devices “has widened the digital divide.” According to him, “the best prepared and best-equipped organizations” still cannot completely avoid cyber attacks.


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