These Common Objects Can Be a Threat to Data Security

These Common Objects Can Be a Threat to Data Security

Cybersecurity issues have become a norm for businesses of this age. The world is becoming increasingly connected, and as a result, we rely more than ever on technology to stay connected, communicate, work, and store sensitive information. While this brings many benefits, it also introduces new risks and vulnerabilities.

Every day, businesses combat cyberattacks or data breaches of various kinds. From malware and ransomware to phishing, insider attacks, and BEC, businesses are continually finding ways to strengthen their defenses against and prevent these attacks. This is why, with the wide range of cybersecurity defense mechanisms available to protect business networks, systems, and cloud infrastructure, hackers are shifting to other strategies.

Hackers and cybercriminals are always looking for new ways to exploit weaknesses in digital defenses, and in recent times, they don’t need sophisticated tools or techniques to succeed. In fact, some of the most common objects we use daily can seriously threaten data security.

According to Forbes, printer data breaches could end up costing businesses about $445 billion. Apart from printers, there are many other everyday devices that hackers and cybercriminals can use to threaten data security.

Hence businesses need to put numerous cybersecurity measures to prevent these threats and reduce the financial impact of data breaches. But what are these common objects that can prove a threat to your company’s data security? Read on to learn more.

Common Objects That Can Be a Threat to Data Security

Businesses need to identify the everyday objects that could be a threat. Here are six common objects that can threaten your data security levels:

  1. USB/Flash Drives

Flash or USB drives are handy devices that store and transfer files. One thing that makes these objects common is that they are easy to carry and use. However, these supposedly harmless objects can also be used by cybercriminals to access and steal a business or individual’s private data.

There are many ways a USB can be a threat to data security. A common method is for a hacker to steal the USB, load malware or ransomware, and return the drive to the owner or location it was taken from. The unsuspecting employee/individual inserts the infected flash drive into their work or home computer, inadvertently installing the malware or ransomware, giving the hacker a pathway to the device and its data.

To avoid: 

  • Always keep your USB drive safe. 
  • If stolen or misplaced and then found, avoid inserting USB drives into your PC if unsure of their source. 
  • Install antivirus software on your computers to scan and detect malware and viruses.
  • Always encrypt important information in your USB drive to protect it.

These tips help protect you from falling victim to data breaches.

  1. Wireless Printers

Printers are a standard fixture in offices and most homes, as they help businesses transfer information from digital to physical format. This usually comprises printing, scanning, and duplicating files. For printers to work, they need to read and store the document before they can print, scan, or reproduce it. However, anything stored digitally attracts cybercriminals, and stored printer data is no different.

Wireless printers are easier to use as they require no wired connections before printing documents. However, this can also be a significant vulnerability. Because wireless printers will require the use of an internet connection, such as Wi-Fi, using simple passwords can easily allow hackers easy printer access. This can cause them to get their hands on sensitive client data, important financial documents, and even login credentials.    

To stay safe, you can do the following:

  • Upgrade your printers with the latest software and firmware updates to protect against any software or firmware vulnerabilities
  • Use strong passwords for the printer’s login details
  • Employ restricted access and use VPN
  • All disposed or faulty printers should be wiped clean before disposing

Although wireless printers are essential and innovative, protecting them is highly essential.

  1. Trash Cans

One potential but usually ignored threat to data security is trash cans. Every company disposes of trash periodically, and in the trash cans can be confidential and sensitive documents. 

Cybercriminals know the importance of data, so they are always on the hunt for documents of this nature. It is common to find people looking through dumpsters for discarded paper containing bank records, login credentials, social media account info, and many other data sets. If they can get their hands on these documents, the owners will be at the receiving end of a targeted hack attack.

To ensure this does not happen, it is essential to dispose of documents properly. Businesses should employ professional paper shredding services, get a paper shredder, or keep their trash in secure locations. 

  1. Old Devices

Many businesses or employees decide to sell their old devices or simply give them away. While it sounds necessary, this decision could be very costly if the devices aren’t properly wiped.

Most old equipment (laptops, tablets, smartphones) used by employees usually have cloud and social media accounts logged in on them. Hence, when they are given out or sold, these accounts are still logged in, which could be dangerous. If any of these devices get into the hands of someone who knows their way around the inner workings of online accounts, they could use them to perpetrate crimes in the company’s name.

Old devices should be properly wiped or reformatted, while all accounts should be logged or signed out before giving or selling them. 

  1. Old Storage Drives

Old hard drives are another way your personal or company’s data security could be at risk. These objects are good for you, but only when they are in your possession. They could be used against you, especially when you have sensitive information in them and you do not wipe it before selling it. 

Although changing your laptop is good, all data on the storage drive should be moved to the cloud and wiped clean before selling, giving away, or being disposed of.

  1. Cloud Software Trials

Most cloud services and SaaS offerings usually offer free trials to customers to attract more customers and increase engagement rates. Cloud services like Dropbox are known for these effective strategies. However, they could also be the channel through which businesses could be hacked.

Cloud computing is one of the most attacked online services simply because of the large amounts of data they store. Using a software trial account might require putting in some company data for trial and testing. After testing, employees might forget to close down the free trial account. Not doing this can cause you to get hacked or the account used for malicious purposes.

To prevent this, ensure all free trial accounts for any service, tested or used, are closed down properly and any company data extracted and removed.

Increase the Data Security Levels of your Objects with Haxxess

To protect your objects from being a source of threat to data security, you must be intentional. 

Our team of professionals offers various security measures that help you protect your data and network. If you need help securing devices that could cause possible data threats, contact us at 705-222-8324.

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