10 Data Vulnerabilities That Can Cause Data Loss

Nimrod Iny
Apr 5, 2022

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.

6. Outdated components

Outdated software components are those that are no longer supported by the software developer. The software may no longer be patched against security vulnerabilities, meaning that it could be exploited by attackers.

To prevent data loss from outdated software components, it involves installing patches and updates as they become available. It is also recommended that software developers avoid using older, unsupported software components whenever possible.

7. Security logging and monitoring failures

As data breaches and cyber-attacks become more common, organizations are increasingly aware of the need for comprehensive security logging and monitoring. However, many organizations still experience security logging and monitoring failures that can lead to data loss. To prevent security logging and monitoring failures from causing data loss, organizations should take the following steps:

  • Develop a comprehensive security logging and monitoring plan. This plan should include the type of data to be collected, the systems and networks to be monitored, and the tools and processes to be used.
  • Collect and analyze all the data that is needed to identify threats and respond to incidents. This data should include network traffic, system logs, and user activity.
  • Use the right tools to monitor your systems and networks. These tools should include intrusion detection and prevention systems, firewalls, and malware detectors.
  • Regularly test your security logging and monitoring systems to ensure that they are working correctly.

8. XSS - Cross-site scripting

Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a type of computer security vulnerability that can allow an attacker to inject malicious code into a web page, resulting in the execution of the code by unsuspecting users who visit the page. The malicious code can take the form of a script that is executed in the context of the vulnerable web page. The code can be used to exploit the trust that a user has in the site to steal cookies, login credentials, or other sensitive information.

XSS vulnerabilities can be difficult to detect because the code is usually invisible to the user and is executed in the context of the site. However, there are a number of measures that can be taken to help prevent XSS vulnerabilities, including proper input validation and output encoding.

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9. Software corruption

Software corruption is a term used to describe many different types of issues that can occur with software. These issues can range from minor glitches to complete system failures. Data loss is one possible outcome of software corruption and can occur when the software doesn't work properly and can't access or write to the data it needs to. 

One way to help prevent software corruption is to keep your software up to date. Software companies often release updates to their software to fix known issues and bugs. These updates can help improve the stability and performance of the software. It's important to keep your software up to date to make sure you're taking advantage of these improvements.

10. Identification failures

Identification failures happen when the software can't properly identify the data it's supposed to be protecting. This can lead to all sorts of problems, from data being mistakenly deleted to entire databases becoming corrupted.

There are a few ways to prevent identification failures from happening. One of the most important is to make sure that the software is properly configured and that all the settings are correct. You also need to make sure that the software is up-to-date and that the latest patches have been installed.

How Polar Security can help with data vulnerabilities

It’s no secret that the world is becoming increasingly digitized. From our work to our personal lives, more and more of our activities are taking place online. Along with this shift comes a new set of risks and vulnerabilities. Perhaps the biggest risk to our online safety and security comes from data breaches.

This is where Polar Security can help.

As your company grows, so will the complexity of your data needs. Vulnerabilities and compliance violations are a natural by-product that needs to be managed. Our platform can help discover, classify and map your data to ensure that you have deep visibility and protection over your data stores. It's better to prevent data exposure than mitigate its aftereffects.

Book a demo today and see how we can help you achieve your security goals and prevent data loss from taking place.

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