Are hacked passwords the crux to data breaches?
hacked passwords

Are hacked passwords the crux to data breaches?

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According to security and risk management company CSO, hacked passwords are reportedly the cause of 81% of data breaches.

Some may then say “users/individuals should be more cautious about what passwords they use” – but what about the responsibility of businesses and organisations to ensure the safety of their users’ personal data?

The impact of one person’s compromised credentials could be felt far and wide…

Centrify, a leader in securing hybrid enterprises through the power of identity services, noted that four out of five data breaches that occurred this year involved compromised credentials. What this means is that another person or an intruder has gained access to someone’s personal details, and there are a number of ways that such credentials could be compromised.

For example:

Being a victim of a phishing attack
A phishing attack is where a cyber-attacker attempts to gain access to personal information such as passwords and credit card information. Cyber-attackers usually launch these malicious attacks by disguising themselves as trustworthy companies/organisations in an electronic communication. A popular example of a phishing attack would be a cyber-attacker sending a disguised email that looks like it’s from Facebook asking the user to change/update their personal details or change their password. This could dupe the user into clicking the link that has been provided by the cyber-attacker. Once the user clicks on the link to the fake site, which may usually be dressed up to look like the proper site, any information entered can be copied, or viruses could be downloaded.
Computer/Laptop theft
If the computer system isn’t password protected, this could allow the criminal to have full access to masses of personal information and/or data that may be stored on there. A lot of people are guilty of saving their usernames and passwords on their online accounts, and this could allow full access to card payment details stored on their online shopping accounts, for example.
Individuals sharing passwords with others
This, according to CSO, is the biggest factor for data breaches. Though you may feel that you can trust the people you share passwords with, it’s probably best not to share passwords as that could increase the chances of a data breach.

As mentioned above, compromised credentials could entail multiple things, not just hacked passwords.

According to the 2017 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR), compromised credentials are a big factor to data breaches. Centrify’s Senior Director, Niall King, looks at the statistics and states:

“…for years, we’ve seen compromised credentials as a primary cause of data breaches.”

Mr King notes that the Verizon report states that the number of data breaches have had an unprecedented rise in the past 3 years; from 50% to 66% to 81%. This may demonstrate that today’s cyber-security isn’t secure at all.

Mr King goes on to say that cyber-criminals will find a way to break down the least resistant individuals who have ‘simple factor’ passwords.

Passwords alone aren’t enough for securing data, it seems.

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