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Unauthorized access is the most common thread to all data breaches. This article shows the top 10 unauthorized methods and how to put preventative measures in place.
- Phishing Attacks:
Case in point: The “Google Docs” phishing attack in 2017, where attackers sent deceptive emails impersonating Google Docs invitations to trick users into granting access to their Gmail accounts.
Solution: Implement robust email filtering systems, conduct regular phishing awareness training for employees, and encourage a culture of skepticism towards unsolicited emails.
- Weak or Stolen Credentials:
Case in point: The LinkedIn data breach in 2012, where hackers gained access to and leaked around 6.5 million hashed passwords, highlighting the risks of weak or reused passwords.
Solution: Enforce strong password policies, use multi-factor authentication (MFA), and regularly update passwords. Educate users on password best practices.
- Malware Infections:
Case in point: The WannaCry ransomware attack in 2017, which exploited a Windows vulnerability and infected hundreds of thousands of computers globally, encrypting files and demanding ransom.
Solution: Keep software and systems up-to-date with security patches, use reputable antivirus and anti-malware software, and conduct regular employee training on recognizing and avoiding malware.
- Insider Threats:
Case in point: Edward Snowden’s leak of classified NSA documents in 2013, showcasing the potential impact of insider threats on national security.
Solution: Implement strict access controls and monitor user activities. Provide employees with the least privilege necessary for their roles, and foster a culture of security awareness.
- Brute Force Attacks:
Case in point: The 2014 Sony Pictures Entertainment hack, where attackers used brute force attacks to gain access to the company’s network and leaked sensitive data.
Solution: Implement account lockout policies after a certain number of failed login attempts, use CAPTCHA or other challenges to deter automated attacks, and encourage the use of complex passwords.
- Unpatched Software Vulnerabilities:
Case in point: The Equifax data breach in 2017, which exploited an unpatched vulnerability in Apache Struts, leading to the exposure of sensitive personal information of millions.
Solution: Establish a robust patch management process to regularly update software and systems. Monitor vendor security advisories and apply patches promptly.
- Physical Access:
Case in point: The Stuxnet worm in 2010, which was a cyber-physical attack targeting Iran’s nuclear facilities, emphasizing the potential consequences of unauthorized physical access to critical infrastructure.
Solution: Implement physical security measures, such as access control systems, surveillance, and secure facility designs. Regularly review and update physical security policies.
- Supply Chain Attacks:
Case in point:The SolarWinds cyberattack in 2020, where attackers compromised software updates to distribute malicious code, impacting numerous organizations, including government agencies.Solution: Vet and monitor third-party suppliers for security practices. Include security requirements in contracts, conduct regular audits, and ensure that third parties adhere to security standards.
- Zero-Day Exploits:
Case in point: The Stuxnet worm again, as it utilized multiple zero-day exploits, highlighting the potential impact of sophisticated attacks leveraging unknown vulnerabilities.
Solution: Employ intrusion detection and prevention systems to detect unusual network activity. Stay informed about emerging threats, and collaborate with security communities to share information.
Oh, yeah, the 10th way? Good ol' fashion common sense. Never ignore you gut feeling. If you know me, you'll know I believe HI (Human Intelligence) always bests AI any day of the week and twice on Sundays.
Wilmington Health reached out to us for strategic direction on their storage, backup, archive, disaster recovery, and business continuity. We engaged our Virtual CIO (vCIO) service, and we delivered for all of their locations across the region
Manuel W. Lloyd has acted in a vCIO capacity for Wilmington Health for several months and has provided invaluable leadership and strategic direction for us.
His company helped perform some heavy lifting on high-level initiatives including storage, backup, archive, disaster recovery, and business continuity.
They are adept and up-to-date with new technologies but can balance excellent communication and negotiation skills with stakeholders and vendors.
For this, they have been a very valuable asset to me, the IT Manager, and Wilmington Health overall. But what sets Manny apart is his energy and enthusiasm.
I'd swear they never sleep and are always there when needed. They are able to throttle their output up or down, depending on the needs of you the customer.
And it's rare to find a company with those characteristics that also has a great and congenial mentality.
CyberSleuth® is doing some excellent work for us, and I'm excited to continue working with them on future projects and initiatives”
—Todd Richardson, IT Director
Wilmington Health is committed to using collaborative, evidence-based medicine in providing the highest quality of care to the patients we serve.
Since 1971, Wilmington Health has been committed to providing TRUE Care to our community in Wilmington and Southeastern North Carolina.
Physician-owned primary care and multi-specialty medical practice, Wilmington Health provides a comprehensive, coordinated, and collaborative approach to healthcare, using evidence-based medicine to achieve the highest quality care possible for the patients we serve.