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The 3 Most Common Causes of Data Breaches

May 12, 2021

Cybersecurity is a top priority for companies of all sizes. With most enterprises operating online through the cloud and communicating through email, there are many opportunities for a data breach to occur in the system.

A “data breach” is the term to describe a threat to your sensitive information. It can come in many forms, whether introduced through a system or, a result of hacking.

Even if you’re operating with a small team, you can’t assume that your data won’t be worth anything to cybercriminals. They can very well destroy or steal information about your accounts, conversations with employees, and billing information for operational costs. Here are the most common types of data breaches to look out for:

3 Common Types of Data Breach: A Guide for Non-IT Small Business Owners

1. Malware

Malware has been a cyber threat since the early ages of technology. The term is short for “malicious software,” which is exactly what it sounds like. These are system errors that can find their way into the system and corrupt or alter data.

The most common form of malware is what we know as a virus, which infects the network and can cause data loss or file corruption. Another type of malware is called spyware, which gathers sensitive information from networks such as passwords, account details, credit card numbers, and more to be sold to advertisers or data firms.

2. Social Engineering

Have you ever received spam emails from a “long-lost international relative” or a “prince from another country” seeking help from you or offering an “exciting opportunity?” Those are just some basic examples of phishing scams, which is what social engineering is all about.

The hackers behind these scams write personalised messages that can urge a gullible user to give up sensitive information or give them money.

While many of these social engineering attempts can be detected by emails to warn users, scams are getting smarter and smarter. There are many fake accounts posing as government offices, banks, and more to get your information.

3. Permissions and Access Issues

If there are too many people logged into the system, it can leave your network vulnerable to access by people outside of your network. Ex-employees, for example, can access your information if you let them operate with their personal email accounts.

Having the same password for long periods of time can also leave you vulnerable to internal hacking. And even though the possibility of your former employee taking your sensitive data for their own use may seem like a stretch to you, the possibility of them turning on the company is still there.


No matter how small your business might be, you still need to take extra precautions to prevent a data breach. There are plenty of reasons for cybercriminals to want your data, so do not underestimate the power of a quick password change or the issuing of a personal company email. If necessary, bring in experts to assess your company’s security and provide the best solutions.

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