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Most Common Types of Network Security Breaches

written by: M.S. Smith•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 3/28/2010

What are the most common types of network security breaches? This article covers four common problems which network administrators should be on the watch for. While some of these problems involve hacking by an outside party, others are internal errors which can lead to serious problems.

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    Preparing for the Worst

    No one wants a breach in network security to occur but in today's environment it is practically inevitable. This doesn't mean that your network is going to crash, however, because not all types of network security breaches are major events. Some are so minor that you may not even notice if you're aren't paying extremely close attention to your network's activity. Smaller breaches can lead to larger ones, so it is important to know where the threats are coming from.

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    Failing to Change Employee Logins

    Computer Security Breach Not all breaches in network security happen because someone is trying to or has hacked into your network or stolen a password. Some types of network security breaches happen simply because someone, somewhere, forgot to do what they should have. One of the most popular cases of this in recent years occurred when a former auto dealership employee disabled 100 cars which had been installed with equipment that makes the cars inoperable if the owner isn't making their payments. This happened not because he hacked the network but because no one had considered that he might still have login and password information.

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    Breach of Password Security

    Another common breach in network security due to employee error occurs when an employee shares their password and login information with an outside source. This can happen any number of ways. Usually the employee does it unknowingly by being pulled in by a phishing scam. Employees who are allowed to set their own logins and passwords also frequently do a poor job of making sure the password is difficult to break. Often, the chosen password is the same as their home computer password which means a breach of their online security at home can lead to a breach in the security of your business network.

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    Data Destruction

    Another type of security breach comes in the form of a disruptive attack. This involves an outside party gaining unauthorized access to your network and then actively exploiting that access to delete information. It is essentially computer vandalism, and it is very easy to spot because important files will go missing and employees will complain they can no longer find critical information. Business-critical software may go offline if information it needs is deleted. As destructive as these attacks are in the short term, business owners can hedge against them by frequently backing up important data.

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    Data Diddling

    Network Security Breaches This is perhaps the worse type of security breach which can occur and one which businesses need to constantly be on the lookout for. It involves an outside party gaining access to a network and then changing data within it. This can involve everything from moving files to changing their contents. It is incredibly disruptive because the changes in data might at first be subtle and hard to detect. If the hackers target data in archives that is not monitored closely enough, it could take months before the full extent of the damage is discovered. Businesses can counteract this threat by keeping a close eye on changes to all data on the network and immediately examining changes which appear suspicious.

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    Avoiding Network Security Breaches

    While it may be impossible to totally avoid the various types of network security breaches, especially if a hacker is experienced, you can lessen the chance of a network intrusion by monitoring and changing employee passwords, backing up your network, and use experienced IT personnel to aid you in protecting the information your network contains.