The Most Common Causes Of Data Breach

As the old adage goes, if something looks too good to be true, then probably it is. If you were going to gift someone one million pounds, would you just send them an email with a link attached? Probably not, yet people are routinely fooled by this type of scam.



Every day we come across headlines in news or social media posts, that major companies have experienced a data breach, leaving the business, its employees, customers, and partners – at risk. To minimise the potential attempts of attacks, and to keep your organisation safe, it’s important to identify the most common cause of data breaches and to learn what actions you can take to mitigate the threats they pose. Our IT specialists have listed the following causes of data breach:


1. Weak and poorly protected login details/passwords 


‘Brute force’ hacking attacks are the most common cause of data breaches. This type of attack uses computers to repeatedly guess password combinations until it guesses correctly. For every additional character you add to your password (especially special characters) you make a brute force attack exponentially more difficult, so please make sure your employees are using lengthy passwords, whilst avoiding common phrases. Stats show that 4 in 5 breaches classified as a “hack” in 2012 were partly caused by weak passwords – a ridiculous statistic considering that it is free and easy to use strong passwords!


2. Spreading malware is a data breach 


Accessing websites or emails which seem to look like genuine organisations, is a very popular method of distributing malicious software with the intention of letting a hacker take advantage of a system, exploit other connected networks, and steal sensitive data. Be aware of what you and your employees are accessing, things such as web pages and emails are the most common but there are other sources of malware. Don’t forget to protect your systems with additional security devices such as firewalls, which are designed to create a safe barrier from external sources as well as detecting and blocking malicious traffic coming from unauthorised sources. Check our blog post "What is a firewall and why is it important", to learn more about firewalls.



3. Old software and hardware versions


Poorly developed software applications or network systems are the perfect keys for hackers to get directly to your data. Software and hardware solutions must be kept fully up to date, which will protect against previously undiscovered loopholes and bugs – which gives hackers an easy way to exploit a system and potentially other connected applications. Your IT provider should always take care of all updates and action them immediately. If you are looking for a fully managed IT service provider that will maintain all of your software applications, needed for the best functionality and security of your business, please contact us today.


4. Physical intrusions can cause a data breach


Hackers are usually pictured as a sit-down-in-front-of-computer person, who break the codes and transfers a lot of money from various businesses ’ accounts. Yes, these people do exist but they make up a tiny percentage of criminal hackers. It is far easier to ‘hack’ your systems if they have physical access to your hardware and it may sound ridiculous, but they can dress up in a uniform (builder, cleaner, health, and safety officer – you name it!) and work their way into your building – straight onto your computer systems. So be wary of anyone who has permission to enter the premises of your business.


5. Who's got your data?


It should be a no-brainer that sharing your company’s information needs to be recorded and done so with trusted parties only. Know who you are dealing with! A business partner, employee, or a friend – fine but if you can sense a hint of doubt – do not share your data!


6. Permissions are great but not too many!


Keeping a tight rein on who has access to the information within your business will save you from errors and confusion. Giving the wrong permissions to the wrong people, or leaving out-of-date permissions is another easy opportunity for a hacker to exploit your systems. Always make sure that those employees only have the permissions they require – no more, no less! It may seem trivial, but leaving permissions outdated can lead to a serious data breach.


7. Human Errors


Something that we do not have control over is human error. We all make mistakes that perhaps could be avoided if we had more sleep the night before or looked twice at the odd-looking email. Mistakes happen and errors are made every day. But, to help stop it from happening, partnering with a professional IT provider will minimise the risk of these errors. With trusted IT service providers, like us at ADT Systems, you can be sure that your data will be secure and robust processes will be kept in place to ensure only the right people have access. So, if you are looking for better security for your business or seeking friendly advice, please get in touch! Our team of IT specialists will be able to help give you the most important information on how to keep your business protected from unwanted data breaches. To learn more about our services, contact us today. Alternatively, please see our services information leaflet here



woman-holding-padlock-laptop - data security - business



ADT has been providing expertise and great customer service since 1993, we have plenty of great advice that we can share with you! Call us on 0330 333 7439 or simply drop us an email at We have many interesting News posts that are worth reading, so, please take a look!


And finally, our new social media pages would love to have you on board! Have a look at our Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter accounts!



ADT Systems Team