The most common security breaches

5 mins

The most common security breachesNobody is immune to security breaches and the number of bus...

The most common security breaches

Nobody is immune to security breaches and the number of businesses affected by them has skyrocketed over recent years. New vulnerabilities emerged when we shifted to a remote workforce and increased the cyber-attack surface, resulting in greater opportunities for hackers and higher risks for businesses.

Data breaches can cause significant damage to an organisation, putting the business and its stakeholders at risk. To ensure your business steers away from any threats, it’s important to know what to look out for and how to react during any spells of cyber vulnerability to reduce any threats.

The most common security breaches include:

Stolen Credentials 

This is a common case of data breach and is often caused by human error. Carelessness can give cyber criminals the opportunity to gain access to confidential information and this can happen fast. Company information that is leaked in these cases can cause a threat to GDPR compliances.


In a ransomware attack, you may receive messages that your data is now encrypted, denying you access to your company’s data. Usually, cybercriminals will offer the data if you pay them a fee, which can range from small amounts of money to hundreds of thousands of pounds. There is no guarantee they will hand back your data once the fee has been paid either. Having risk management solutions to hand when dealing with highly confidential and important materials is key to avoiding this happening.

Malware or Virus

These are sent with the goal of people clicking on the link and wiping their computer of all data. We live in a digital world, and all companies rely on data in one way or another so this is a devastating security breach to experience. Employees should know not to click on anything that looks suspicious and if they think there is something dangerous, it should be deleted and reported for further investigation to reduce the chances of further attack.

Password Guessing

A very simple but potentially damaging issue is when passwords are guessed and you are hacked. Employees might write down their new password on a Post-It note or in their diary that they leave on their desk every day, allowing anyone to access them if they wanted to.

People often choose simple passwords such as pet names and birthdays so they are easy to remember, but there is a risk that hackers can guess them. This type of breach is called ‘brute-force attack’ and it one of the most common due to its simplicity.

Recording Keystrokes

Cybercriminals are able to insert or email you malware keyloggers that can record the data you are entering into your computer, allowing them to access sensitive data. This can happen at work or on your personal computer when working remotely and perpetrators can gather passwords, bank account information or any other information you have on databases.


This kind of attack comes from third-party hackers who create sites that look professional and genuine, making it easy for people to believe there is nothing to worry about. For example, they might mirror a well-known website and ask you to log into your account to confirm details and when you do, they get hold of your password.

This scheme is common in universities – students often receive emails asking them to log into their portals and once they do, hackers have their details to get into their internal systems.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)

This type of attack typically targets larger companies and is often linked to a form of protest. They involved multiple connected online devices and the attack is a malicious attempt to disrupt normal traffic of a server by flooding it with unusual amounts of traffic.

Networks that are affected by a DDoS attack are usually infected with malware which allows them to be controlled remotely by a cybercriminal – these devices are referred to as bots. Once the server has been targeted, the bots can send requests for targeted data including IP addresses, often resulting in a denial-of-service to the normal traffic. Looking out for abnormal spikes in traffic is key in spotting this kind of attack and being aware of what looks suspicious.

Although there is no fool proof method of protecting a company from security breaches, it’s a good idea to understand what to look out for and how to react when you suspect any risks.

Good practices to introduce to your employees include staying up to date with new developments, protecting sensitive information outside the workplace, regularly changing passwords by setting timers and just being vigilant to any questionable activity and reporting it quickly to reduce any risks.

Having people in your workforce with the ability to monitor security breaches is crucial to businesses. If you need support in sourcing the best candidates in the market, speak to one of our expert consultants today.