Attacks/Breaches
1/18/2017
01:45 PM
Kelly Sheridan
Kelly Sheridan
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7 Common Reasons Companies Get Hacked

Many breaches stem from the same root causes. What are the most common security problems leaving companies vulnerable?
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(Image: Wk1003mike via Shutterstock)

(Image: Wk1003mike via Shutterstock)

Businesses suffering from security breaches span all sizes and industries, but they often make the same mistakes. Many cyberattacks in 2016 could be attributed to similar root causes.

To be fair, security pros continue to face the same challenges, explains Diana Kelley, global executive security advisor at IBM. The most common causes behind major breaches can be grouped into two categories, she says: humans and hygiene.

The human factor relates to employees' behavior and how they interact with enterprise systems. Cyber hygiene refers to how businesses keep their systems patched and updated.

Each of these broader terms encompasses several bad practices, mistakes, and overlooked steps that contributed to security breaches in 2016. What were some of the most common reasons companies got hacked last year? Read on to find out.

 

Kelly Sheridan is Associate Editor at Dark Reading. She started her career in business tech journalism at Insurance & Technology and most recently reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft and business IT. Sheridan earned her BA at Villanova University. View Full Bio

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VesnaE29
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VesnaE29,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/28/2017 | 10:10:34 PM
Reasons why companies get hacked
Here is an admission of guilt - I used to hack when i was in my 20s and when I thought it was fun slipping trojans into peoples emails, running port scans and checking for open telnet ports.  It was kind of, well, fun and exhilareting to do something others didn't know how to do.  What that makes you realise is that people are well, lazy when it comes to securing their data.  People fail to realise what their data is worth to someone else, period.  And to be honest here, social engineering never, ever seems to fail.  You can have 10 firewalls sitting around your data and have a DMZ inside the DMZ, but all it takes is for a person to off handedly mention an IP address you can use, or a password for a device that allows you to get onto another advice and then get to that dbase that holds the information you want to access.  The way I see it, educating people is the ONLY way to go.  Teach people how to write good codes. Teach them how to recognise corrupt codes. Teach them to keep their egos in check and not just broadcast information about secure data to others, because that exposes them to social engineering risks.  Education and more education is the key.  I don't think it will ever stop hacking and cyber attacks because there are a lot of curious people out there, but at least it will minimise the damage when data security breaches and thefts occur.   
Redhat62!
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Redhat62!,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/27/2017 | 12:45:19 PM
Password? Really?
What evidence exists that default non-unique, or weak passwords are a common reason?
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
1/26/2017 | 11:23:04 AM
Re: Company Hack
@kbannan: Interesting point, considering that German and Russian government entities have reportedly gone back to typewriters in some instances to increase data security on particularly sensitive matters.

What this comes down to is M&M security (hard on the outside, soft in the middle) vs. holistic security throughout.  The locks on my office door are probably easy to bypass for someone wilful enough.  But the lock on my office safe presents a new and harder challenge.  If I don't have that safe or don't use that safe, however, then a bad guy just needs to get past my office door.

The same principle applies equally among both physical security and cyber security, of course.
Navrit
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Navrit,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/25/2017 | 6:02:08 AM
Re: Missing #8: Being a target
This article is d 'Une grande importance Parce Que pour moi la sécurité de nos Données is a première et essentielle commentaire réussir in the sauvegarde de nos informations et d' eviter tout tracas et perte de Données.  
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
1/24/2017 | 8:30:40 AM
Missing #8: Being a target
While these are great examples of *how* a company can get hacked, one of the biggest *whys* in my experience -- and perhaps a more powerful "security" flaw than any of those listed here -- is being a big target in the first place.

Consider Sony, which sued a 13-year-old hacker for modifying his PlayStation.  In the wake of the PR disaster that followed, the company and its PlayStation Network suffered countless mega-hacks.  In choosing to listen to the legal department without properly taking into account any counterbalancing viewpoints erring on the side of risk management, Sony may as well have painted a big red target on its back and announced to the world, "Open for hacking!"

Less notoriously, consider the University of Virginia hack a couple years ago that was traced back to Chinese operatives.  The only information, apparently, that the hackers wanted was in relation to two particular employees.  Employing these two high-interest individuals was enough to bring U-Va. within the crosshairs of nation-state hackers.

Flaws are flaws.  Everybody has security flaws.  But there is something to the idea of security by obscurity.
kbannan100
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kbannan100,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/23/2017 | 11:45:00 PM
Re: Company Hack
Agree! And when people do something silly like not changing passwords, leaving ports open or not setting expectations of users the problem is only compounded. There was a recent Ponemon study, for instance, that found 62 percent of respondents were pessimistic about their ability to prevent the loss of data contained in printer mass storage and/or printed hard copy documents. They gave reasons for their feelings. You can read the rest of the blog here. It's a bitly: /2cFfLM2

--Karen Bannan for IDG and HP
kevinmn
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kevinmn,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/18/2017 | 8:58:57 PM
Company Hack
well! in my point of view, there are many reasons that a company may be hacked. It's a long war between companies and hackers. When you look at why people are still getting hacked or breached, I think a big contributor to that is either not knowing if you were patched or if you were patched and you were secure at one point, but something happened in operations that caused you not to be patched again
5 Reasons the Cybersecurity Labor Shortfall Won't End Soon
Steve Morgan, Founder & CEO, Cybersecurity Ventures,  12/11/2017
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