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Employee Negligence Remains the Biggest Threat in Data Breaches

Silviu Stahie

November 01, 2019

Employee Negligence Remains the Biggest Threat in Data Breaches

The biggest worry for companies should be employee negligence, which remains the primary factor in data breaches, the Bitdefender Hacked Off! survey revealed.

Companies big and small share a common enemy when it comes to data breaches, and that’s employee negligence. Not surprisingly, the evolution of cybercrime in recent years shows attacks consistently rely on the human factor to succeed. In 2017, 20% of registered breaches were due to employee negligence. The percentages increased slightly in 2018, to 21%, only to return to 20% in 2019.

The term “employee negligence” encompasses several attack methods, including phishing and malware attacks launched from emails or unsecured devices. Regardless of the type of attack, the most effective mitigation technique companies can use is to train the employees to be cyber aware.

Malware is the second most common cause of security breaches, covering 17% of all incidents registered in 2019. It actually fell from 2017, when malware was responsible for 19% of breaches.

The third place is occupied by software failure, causing 17% of the breaches reported in 2019. This number remained pretty much the same in the past three years, which could mean that companies haven’t really changed their policies to make sure that software is kept up to date or audited regularly.

The rest of the breaches in 2019 were due to third-party malice, coming from MSPs (managed service providers), hardware failure, and third-party negligence (also from MSPs.)

According to the Hacked Off! survey, 15% of breaches in 2019 were intercepted after suspicious network behavior was identified, based on security analytics. Other methods used to detect breaches include suspicious actions based on firewall responses, corruption of data systems, business infrastructure disruptions, external security audits, and a few others.

The Hacked Off! survey was commissioned by Bitdefender and took into account the views and opinions of more than 6,000 infosec professionals from the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.



Silviu Stahie

Silviu is a seasoned writer who followed the technology world for almost two decades, covering topics ranging from software to hardware and everything in between. He's passionate about security and the way it shapes the world, in all aspects of life. He's also a space geek, enjoying all the exciting new things the Universe has to offer.

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