Cyber-attacks are nothing new. Every day, hackers and cybercriminals are looking for various “possibilities” that could lead to them getting information. As a result, the sophistication level at which cyber criminals cause security data breaches is on the rise.
It is common knowledge that computers, cloud storage, mobile devices, and others are common ways cybercriminals and hackers cause many cyber-attacks, from phishing and malware to data security breaches. As a result, causing many to put in place various cybersecurity measures to mitigate these threats and lower the cost of data breaches. However, are you aware that several everyday objects also cause data security breaches and other cybersecurity threats?
According to Statista, in 2022, there were a total of 1802 cases of data breaches in the U.S.; in the same year, over 422 million people were affected by data breaches.
It is essential you know about the everyday objects you use in your home or office that could cause a data security breach. They may seem like gadgets impossible to cause a breach, but to a savvy cybercriminal, every gadget is an avenue to steal information.
This article will take a closer look at four everyday objects that can potentially cause a data security breach.
Four Everyday Objects to Take Note of That Can Cause a Data Security Breach
Here are four everyday objects that can cause data security breaches and the best ways to protect your IT devices.
1. USB Drives
USB drives, also known as flash drives, are devices used to store files and data and transfer them from one computer or device to the other. They are portable, easy to carry, and convenient, making them a popular tool for increasing your computer’s capabilities and storage capacity. Although they are essential and seemingly harmless devices, they are relatively tools for cybercriminals to steal sensitive data.
Unfortunately, many people and businesses do not believe USB drives can cause data breaches. Instead, they see USBs as a device that brings about convenience, not gadgets that could cause a data security breach.
Ways USBs can be used to cause a data breach
A cyber-attacker could leave an infected USB drive in a public place, such as a library. An unsuspecting person might pick up the USB and insert it into their home or office computer, unknowingly installing the malware and opening a pathway. Once the malware has been installed, the cyber-attacker is able to gain access to the person’s data or use their computer for malicious purposes.
Many people ignore the warning messages on their computers that their USBs are corrupted and use them that way.
How to Stay Safe
To protect against this type of data breach, be cautious when using USB drives. Avoid using unknown USB drives; before using the USB drive, always scan them for malware or viruses. Also, ensure the data in your USB drive is encrypted so your data is still protected, even if it falls into the wrong hands.
Printers are a common office tool used to print, scan, and copy documents. However, many people don’t realize that printers can store the information printed, scanned, or copied on their hard drives. This information can be accessed by anyone who has physical access to the device, including cybercriminals.
Ways printers can be used to cause a data breach
Because all the information printed on the printer is stored on the printer’s hard drive, cyber-attackers could gain access to the hard drive, potentially getting sensitive information, such as login credentials, financial data, and personal information.
Also, many people simply dispose of older machines and faulty ones. Many are sold off, donated to charity, or returned to the company, still having all the sensitive data. As a result, anyone who is able to access the hard drives gets access to a plethora of sensitive data.
How to Stay Safe
To prevent this type of data breach, keep printers up to date with the latest firmware and security patches. Use strong passwords for the printer’s login credentials and only allow authorized personnel access. Also, before disposing of or returning your printer, wipe-clean the hard drive.
3. Trash Bins/Cans
One potential but unsuspecting source of data security breaches is trash. A lot of things are thrown in the trash, especially papers containing sensitive and confidential information. When they are not disposed of properly, they can be easily retrieved by criminals, who can then use the information for malicious purposes.
Ways trash bins/cans can be used to cause a data breach
One of the most common ways trash can cause data security breaches is through dumpster diving. Criminals rummage through trash cans or dumpsters, looking for sensitive information that has been discarded, such as financial records, credit card bills, medical records, or personal information. If these records are retrieved, they can use them for identity theft or other malicious purposes.
How to Stay Safe
To prevent this type of data breach, use a paper shredder to shred all sensitive information before disposing of it, and use secure trash containers that are locked or kept in a secure area.
4. IoT devices
While IoT devices are everyday objects that can bring convenience and efficiency to our lives, they can also pose a significant risk to our data privacy and security.
Ways IoT devices can be used to cause a data breach
Many IoT devices have limited security features, weak passwords that are easy to guess or crack, unencrypted data, unsecured networks, run on outdated or vulnerable software, and use compromised Wi-Fi. As a result, attackers can exploit these vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized access to the device or the data it collects.
How to Protect
To mitigate the risk of data breaches caused by IoT devices, take appropriate security measures, keep the device’s software up-to-date, use strong and unique passwords, encrypt sensitive data, and ensure that the device and its communication channels are adequately secured.
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