4 common mistakes that leave an organization vulnerable to cyberattacks

As companies store more of their information on the cloud and turn to the internet for scalable solutions, the risk of cyberattacks increases by the day. Hackers can use various techniques to get their hands on confidential data and secure networks that they otherwise shouldn't be able to access. There are several common errors that can increase an organization's vulnerability to data breaches and other attacks.

Leaving passwords exposed

Too often, cyberattacks are predicated by entirely avoidable mistakes. One of the most common is employees sharing passwords or otherwise leaving them written down in obvious places. Passwords are intended to be confidential to each employee and should not be told to others, no matter how trustworthy they may seem. Nor should they be left on a sticky note on a desk in plain view of other workers – passwords should be memorized, and any documentation of them should be achieved through equally secure methods, like placing a note containing a password into a safe.

Passwords that are not adequate

Another password-related issue comes from the makeup of the codes themselves. Passwords that are common phrases or composed of easily gathered information like birthdays are distressingly common, according to the United Kingdom National Cyber Security Center. These passwords can be guessed by hackers through simple brute force methods, such as typing series of numbers or terms until gaining access to a user profile. Other times, hackers might take to social media to find out information on likely targets, which can make cracking the code even easier.

Passwords are a tool that many hackers can make use of to conduct hostile actions.Passwords are a tool that many hackers can make use of to conduct hostile actions.

"Shadow" IoT devices

The internet of things is a powerful interconnected network of devices that makes many modern business operations feasible. However, too often there is a lack of care when it comes to using this technology. Companies frequently have little to no guidance on what devices can and cannot be connected to networks, and the difficulty of tracking these "shadow" IoT devices makes patching up holes in the cybersecurity wall next to impossible, according to cybersecurity firm Infoblox. Older devices with obsolete or absent security architecture are especially vulnerable to attack from hackers, who then use these compromised machines as a foothold to gather confidential data from a network.

Poorly maintained infrastructure

Just as "shadow" IoT devices pose a threat because of the possibility of poor security compromising a network, a company's overall network infrastructure can also be compromised on a more massive scale. Due to various reasons, such as a lack of manpower, funds or similar, important software and hardware may not be kept up to date and hackers can use these devices' old security certificates to waltz right into a vault of confidential data. Keeping security architecture updated should be a priority of any company.

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