CALL US: 216-397-4080  | CLIENT HELP DESK: 216-539-3686

Five Common Security Breaches

Five Common Security Breaches

From attacks on mobile devices to ever-increasing forms of malware, cybersecurity has never been more challenging. One of the best ways to stay protected is to be aware of cybersecurity threats. Here are five common ways your network can be hacked, and what you can do to avoid it.

You are tricked into installing malicious software

There are countless ways you can be tricked into downloading and installing malware. You might like to downloading software, movies, or music from torrent websites. When visiting these sites, you are told to download software in order for the site to load properly. Once downloaded, the malware that came with the software infects your system. You’re also at risk from emails with malware-infected attachment, malicious pop up advertising on websites, and plenty of other sources.

Here are steps you can take to avoid accidentally installing malware:

Never download files from an untrusted source. If a website is asking you to download something, make sure that it’s reputable and reliable. Double check the URL of the website as well, as hackers can spoof legitimate websites and use similar but slightly altered URLs, such as “” instead of “” If you are unsure, it’s best to avoid downloading and installing the software.

Always look at the name of the file before downloading. A lot of malware is often deliberately given names similar to those of legitimate files, with only a slight spelling mistake or some unusual wording. If you are unsure about the file, then don’t download it. If you know the sender, you may contact them to verify the file’s authenticity.

Always scan a file before installing it. Good endpoint protection will automatically scan files before permitting a download.   Other antivirus protection allows the user to run a scan to check downloaded files before opening them.

Stay away from sites with torrents, adult content, or those that stream pirated videos. These sites are famous for containing malware, so avoid them altogether.


Hackers obtain admin privileges

Many users are logged into their computers as admins. Being an administrator allows you to change settings, install programs, and manage other accounts. If a hacker manages to access your computer with you as the admin, they will have full access to your computer. This means they can install other malicious software, change settings, or even completely hijack the machine.

Even worse is a hacker gaining access to a computer used to manage the overall IT network. Should this happen, they can control the entire network and do as they please.

To avoid this, limit the administrator role only to users who need to install applications or change settings on their computers. This is known as “least privilege”.

Installing proper endpoint protection with advanced solutions such as anti-ransomware and managed threat response, as well as consistent monitoring, will also help reduce the chances of being infected.


Someone physically accesses your computer

It’s probably not something you’d normally think of, but your system is also at risk from hackers who might physically access your systems.

Let’s say you leave your computer unlocked when you go out for lunch. It’s as easy as someone walking by your desk and plugging in a malware-infected USB drive.  Ask yourself what kind of physical security your office has. How easy would it be for a “Fed Ex delivery person” or “printer repairman” to wander around your office, wearing their uniform, and not be questioned by any of your co-workers?  It happens more often than you’d think.

An easy way to defend against this is to secure your computer with a password. You should also lock, turn off, or log off from your computer whenever you step away from it. You can also disable drives like CD/DVD and connections like USB if you don’t use them. Doing so will limit the chances of anyone using these removable media to infect your computer or steal data from it.  Software solutions like data loss prevention (DLP) can track any transferred data, or restrict all data transfer from your device.


Someone from within the company infects the system

A disgruntled employee can compromise your IT systems. Whether deleting essential data or introducing highly destructive malware, the most effective way to prevent this (aside from ensuring your employees are happy), is to limit access to systems. For example, you may find that people in marketing have access to finance files or even admin panels. Revoke unnecessary access rights and ensure that employees only have access to the files they need.


Your password is compromised

Passwords are typically the main verification method businesses use to access their accounts and systems. The issue with this is that many people have weak passwords that are easy to crack. To make matters worse, many people use the same password for multiple accounts, which could lead to a massive breach.

It is therefore important to use strong passwords for your accounts, and to never use the same password on multiple accounts. It’s best to also utilize multifactor authentication, which requires users to present more than one way to verify their identity such as a password plus a fingerprint or a one-time code.

To learn more about educating your team and securing your network, call Ashton Technology Solutions at 216 397-4080.

Related Posts