Did you know that cybercrime has gone up by 600% due to the coronavirus pandemic? The highest portion of these breaches occurs in financial businesses and institutes closely associated with financial information.
According to data, 71% of all breaches are financial, and the banking industry has collectively suffered about $18.3 million in cost due to cyberattacks. Spendings on securing online financial data against breaches have steadily gone up the slope. Small and medium-sized businesses are even more vulnerable as they don’t keep a tab for cybersecurity.
Data from 2022 revealed that 60% of SMEs are at risk of going out of business within the first 6 months of a cyber-attack resulting in a data breach. If you are a small or medium business trying to get off the ground, you are at an increased risk of a breach. And do you know what will be the first kind of data to be targeted by attackers? Your financial data.
Financial identity theft, credit card information theft, and more form most breaches on businesses. The worst part is outside hackers are not the only people you need to worry about. A data breach can take place from inside your firm too. Keep reading to know how your business and data are under threat from not just hackers but your internal staff as well.
Most Common Causes Of Data Breach And Leaks
Breaches in your business finance, accounting, and other data can happen due to several causes. Just a slight vulnerability can expose your business data to cyberattacks. You don’t even have to be online for data leaks to happen. They can occur via Bluetooth connection, text messages, calls, and more offline ways.
Weak passwords are the most common reason for attacks. Using one password for multiple platforms or creating a password with an easy combination of letters makes it easy for the hacks to breach data. There could be an issue with the code for your software. Poorly built software or networks are easy to break down.
Malicious attacks are pretty common too. These may include phishing or malware attacks. Phishing is when an attacker pretends to be another person or organization and tricks you into leaking sensitive data. Phishing is a form of social engineering. Malware attacks can range from spyware to ransomware and more.
Using default settings in an application or enabling too many permissions can weaken the system and open it for attacks. Insider threats are very real. You may trust all your employees, but you never know who may stray and leak confidential information.
Insider threats are of several types. In some cases, data leakage may happen accidentally. An employee did something by chance that led to cyberattacks. This is the case of unintentional data leaks. In other scenarios, an evil worker may knowingly leak data for several reasons. This is intentional data leakage.
Unintentional Data Leakage – Pure Human Error
Unintentional data leakage is simply a mistake. It can happen due to negligent employees or by plain human error where an employee did not know what to do and caused a weakness in the system.
Workers may lose a device with sensitive information, choose weak passwords, try to access suspicious websites from their work computers and provide chances for the hackers to launch an attack. About 47% of business data breaches occur due to some human error.
Unintentional breaches can also happen when an unauthorized person tries to use or access a friend’s device at work but can’t clear the authorization. A worker may be overwhelmed with work and juggling all the work. They may push a wrong button or click on a bad site, leading to data leakage. In this whirlpool of work, an employee may also send an email or message to the wrong address causing sensitive information to be sent to the wrong person.
If any vulnerabilities are found in the system, they must be immediately patched up. Leaving weaknesses open can also give more time to the hackers.
Intentional Data Leakage – A Malicious Employee
Malicious workers inside the firm cause intentional leaks. From top executives and bosses to the most junior workers and even owners, they can be anyone. Anyone who can access confidential information can become an insider threat.
It could be an employee who got insulted or someone who is not loyal and wants to sell company information for money. Some employees are external agents for a competitor organization and are especially sent in for malicious purposes.
Then, some employees take shortcuts. They workaround normal procedures such as bypassing security protocols and saving a file to a personal drive. These workers know that their actions can harm the data, but they do it anyway.
Last, if employees are leaving the company, they are a constant threat for you as they could have copied any information and taken it with them.
Cyberattacks – Who should worry
Any business that operates online is at the risk of a data breach or leak. Financial data is the most targeted one, so data security in financial services should be the priority for any company.
The fact that most business owners don’t know that there are gaps in their system or don’t know about data breaches prompts hackers to take advantage and attack the business’ identity.
If you are even faintly associated with an online business, it would be best to be concerned about cybersecurity.
Data leaks and breaches can happen due to several reasons – intentional or unintentional. As a result, the number of data breaches will increase. As cybercrime continues to evolve into sophisticated threats, and employees are given access to financial data from multiple points – you are losing control over your data. Without you even knowing, your data could be in the hands of a hacker, or slowly leaking and that’s something you won’t know until the damage is done.
So, before you go on with your day, coffee in hand, about to open your computer for another work day – ask yourself this. Are you certain your business data has not already leaked? Are you sure you have control over who is accessing your business’s financial information? Do you know who is accessing your accounts?