Factors That Lead To Data Theft

Four main factors can cause data breaches. Malware, human error, and system flaws are among the causes. Malicious hackers are responsible for the majority of breaches. Negligence is another major cause, but human error can also play a role. When employees share sensitive information, criminals can exploit this to gather the information they need. Malware can also be downloaded from infected emails, links, websites, and online advertisements. Some of the most common factors are explained below. 


According to a recent report from information security firm Shred-it, employee negligence is the primary cause of data breaches. According to the report, nearly half of all breaches result from employee negligence. For example, someone stealing your data can be because of failing to erase devices containing sensitive information or deleting old files. Employee negligence is a common cause of data breaches, costing companies an average of $3.6 million globally in 2017.

In the United States, nearly 50% of employees work remotely, and 45% of in-house workers work off-site. A recent Gallup survey shows that 96% of Americans believe that negligence caused data breaches in their organizations. Ninety percent of CEOs trust remote employees to handle sensitive company information. Additionally, nearly half of all employees have lost or stolen confidential information equipment. 

System glitches

Software glitches are one of the most common reasons for data breaches. They result from unexpected breaks in continuity and can be exploited by hackers. According to the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, as many as 25 percent of breaches are caused by system glitches. Depending on the industry, these problems can arise in different ways: an application failure, unintentional data dumps, or even a logic error during data transfer. However, system glitches are particularly common in industries like the financial industry.

A software update can inadvertently expose records. For example, a state government system in Michigan recently exposed the records of 1.9 million people for four months. While malware attacks are expensive, system glitches are far less common and cheaper to resolve. Another significant factor in data breaches is human error. Educating employees is one of the most important aspects of preventing data breaches. According to the study, educating employees about the risks of system errors can reduce the likelihood of such incidents.

Malicious hackers

When hackers break into a company or private data, they often create new programs or modify existing malware to avoid detection by antivirus programs. Once on a computer, they will then perform the desired action. This approach is similar to human error but much more subtle. Human error implies a lapse in judgment or accident. On the other hand, insider misuse means a deliberate abuse of a company’s system for personal gain.

Several common attacks use the techniques of command and control tools to gain system control, such as DDoS, to distract security teams. These hackers may also use existing system functions to maintain local control. Once inside a company’s network, it aims to find the targeted data and then use it to steal files. Then, they will use methods such as encryption to transfer the files outside the network in small increments so as not to attract detection.

Human error

According to a report by Stanford University, human error is a leading cause of data breaches. This failure to follow security best practices is responsible for nearly half of all data breaches. Human error also includes the failure to update software and send data over insecure networks. Despite technological advances, human error remains a key risk factor. Although many organizations now employ technical solutions such as mobile device management systems to protect end-users from security risks, human error remains one of the most common causes of data breaches.

While data breaches can be preventable, they are still widespread and often require human error. The solution is to reduce human input. For example, employees should spend less time on data analysis in the digital era. Repetitive tasks decrease concentration and lead to mistakes. Therefore, it will help reduce the risk of human error. 

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