Data loss can result from a variety of vulnerabilities that are common in data storage systems. Because of their prevalence, these vulnerabilities can cause widespread data loss if not properly addressed.
According to IBM, the average cost of a data breach for US-based companies is approximately $8.6 million. In addition to this, it could take more than nine months to identify that a data breach has occurred. 94% of companies that experience severe data losses do not recover, and 70% of small firms go out of business within a year of a large data loss.
Here are 10 data vulnerabilities that can cause data loss, and how to mitigate them.
1. Secrets sprawl
An uncontrolled accumulation of secrets is referred to as “secret sprawl”. It can lead to a loss of control and data breaches. Secret sprawl can result from the following:
- Too many secrets being created
- Lack of classification and protection controls
- Poorly managed retention and disposal processes
- Inadequate personnel security controls
- Lack of awareness and training
Organizations can take the following steps to prevent and mitigate the risks associated with secret sprawl:
- Implement a comprehensive information security program that includes classification and protection controls, retention and disposal processes, and personnel security controls.
- Ensure that all personnel are aware of the importance of protecting information and receive adequate training.
- Ongoing management and monitoring of the security program.
2. Server-side request forgery
Server-side request forgery (SSRF) is a vulnerability that allows an attacker to inject requests to a vulnerable web application from the perspective of the web application's server. This can allow the attacker to bypass firewalls and security restrictions, read files and execute commands on the server, or gain access to sensitive data.
There are several ways to prevent SSRF attacks, but the most important is to ensure that web applications are properly configured to only allow access to the resources they need to function. Additionally, input validation should be used to check that all user input is safe before it is processed. Restricting access to the server's internal resources by using firewalls and other security measures can also help to prevent SSRF attacks.
3. Misconfigured access
Misconfigured access is the act of granting users too much access to sensitive data or systems. This can be done accidentally or on purpose, but the end result is the same – data is exposed and can be stolen or compromised.
One way to prevent misconfigured access is to ensure that your users only have the access they need to do their jobs. You can do this by restricting access to certain folders or data sets, and by using role-based access controls.
4. Code and command injections
Code injection is the process of deliberately introducing malicious code into a legitimate computer application. The code can be executed to achieve a malicious objective, such as gaining control of the system, or simply to cause damage to the system or its data.
Command injection is a specific type of code injection that occurs when an attacker deliberately injects a command into an input field on a web page, or into the text area of a chat client, for example, in order to execute it. Prevention of code and command injections is an important part of the data loss prevention (DLP) strategy. The following are some tips for mitigating the risk of code and command injections:
- Use input validation to check for malicious code in user input.
- Use firewalls and other security measures to prevent unauthorized access to systems.
- Use commercial security software to help detect and prevent code and command injections.
- Keep systems and software up to date with the latest security patches.
- Educate staff on how to identify and report malicious code or suspicious activity.
5. Unknown shadow data stores
With the advent of big data, companies have been collecting more and more data. However, a lot of this data is unknown and unstructured. This data is often called “shadow data” and is a major security risk. Shadow data can include anything from confidential company data to personal information about employees or customers. It can be stored in any format, including text, email, audio, and video.
Shadow data can be a significant security risk for companies. It can be used to steal confidential information or to gain access to other systems. One solution to managing this risk is Polar Security - a cloud-based data security platform that helps companies protect their data, including shadow data.