Security Breaches: How They Happen

Security breaches negatively affect organizations and users. Organizations must identify the underlying events and incidents that cause these breaches to understand how they happen, and get valuable insights into countering the threat. No matter the cause of a security breach, it often has to do with human error, even in terms of risks such as password attacks and social engineering. The following are common scenarios where a mistake can result in serious consequences:


Attackers try to implement this malicious software on the target system. Some malware will track your typing for skimming passwords and sensitive details. Other software will lock down systems and demand ransoms for unlocking them. Users must be educated on how to spot phishing attacks or dodgy websites. It is also important to monitor suspicious changes that occur in the systems, data, and permissions. 

Human Error

Examples of human error that cause security breaches include employees leaving laptops and other mobile devices in vulnerable locations where they can end up in the wrong hands. Also, users may misconfigure an application or database, exposing sensitive information online.

Insiders can be a threat to an organization’s security in many ways, including through human error. Often, humans send confidential information to the wrong people or fall for phishing scams. This makes it important to educate employees and limit access to sensitive data only to those who need access to it to do their business functions. 

Poor Passwords

When hackers get security credentials, they can access a system and steal vital data. Default or weak passwords serve as low hanging fruit to hackers. Also, it is common for people to reuse the same passwords for all their accounts. As organizations force users to remember more complex passwords for several applications, the latter may use a single complex password, putting organizations at risk of a credential stuffing attack. 

Unpatched Applications

Attackers exploit any piece of software with vulnerabilities. After an updated version of the software is released by its vendor, the latest version often comes with patches to help plug up such vulnerabilities. Issues arise when users don’t update their software right away. This makes it important to go through one’s applications and ensure they are up-to-date.

Social Engineering

This is when external attackers can leverage credentials to the environment by convincing users to hand them over. Attackers can often this do through phishing attacks. Detecting and preventing social engineering can be done by educating users on what it is, what attack looks like, and the appropriate action to take when an attack occurs.