12.20.2017

Why Do Data Breaches Happen?

What is a data breach, how often do data breaches occur and how does a data breach happen? Data breaches are a massive cybersecurity issue that results in millions of lost and stolen documents each year. While data breach statistics for 2016 are still being tabulated, some of the biggest companies in the world have reported massive data losses over the last few years, including 80 million compromised records from Anthem health in 2015, 76 million JP Morgan Chase records in 2014, 145 million eBay records in 2014 and 70 million records from Target in 2013.

These are big companies that presumably have very expensive cybersecurity systems in place. These data losses can be devastating to these companies and the people whose secure data is compromised by these breaches. Why are they happening, and what can your company do to prevent them? It may help to look at the problem in more detail.

What Is a Data Breach?

A data breach is a situation where an individual or group extracts secure data from a source. This is data that is not intended to be publicly accessible. It is the digital equivalent of someone breaking into a file cabinet and taking or copying the files within.

How Do Data Breaches Happen?

People who steal data in this way may do so by gaining access to a secure network through a local networked computer, or by using their computer knowledge to bypass security from a remote location. These people may be hacktivists — who steal data for what they perceive is a greater social purpose — governments stealing data for intelligence reasons, corporate saboteurs or simply mischief-makers with computer skills. Whatever the motivation, the result is often devastating.

The hacker protocol typically begins with an examination of the company’s network before the attack, seeking out weaknesses in security to exploit. You can find hacker kits that facilitate the entire hacking process. Once the hacker finds a weakness, he or she attempts to exploit it with either a network or social attack. A social attack is when the hacker attempts to deceive employees into allowing him into the network, either by giving up passwords or opening malware in the system. A network attack is a direct attack on the computer system to attempt to infiltrate the network. As soon as the hacker is in and as long as they are undetected, he or she is free to search for useful data and extract if from the system.

What Can You Do About Data Breaches?

To protect your company against data breaches, you need the most up-to-date cybersecurity methods and personnel trained in protecting data. You also need a top-of-the-line identity access management system. A quality IAM protects your data by using multifactor authentication to make sure anyone who has been granted access to your system is allowed and that anyone in the system is restricted to exactly the level of access the company approves them for.

For award-winning identity access management protection, your company should contact Optimal IdM as soon as possible. Optimal IdM offers cost-effective, custom solutions for protecting your company from unauthorized access. To learn more or request a free trial,contact Optimal IdM today.