Signs of a Possible Data Breach

Posted by Stefanie Kober Thu, 06 Mar 2014 08:01:00 GMT

A data breach is the release of sensitive information to an untrusted source. As customer data is often the most valuable corporate asset, it is important for enterprise IT teams to keep their eyes peeled for security holes and data breaches.

There are several indicators that can help identify whether your network is currently being breached. Below are a couple signs to look for when monitoring your networks.

Abnormal Data Patterns

Abnormal data access patterns that may raise a red flag include users accessing data outside of work hours or while on vacation or a user accessing data from another country when they are based in the US.

Furthermore, if a user copies a large number of files or sends several emails with attached files to a single location, it may indicate that a breach is occurring.

Newly Installed Programs

An experienced hacker will attempt to mimic normal network traffic and system processes when performing a data breach. However, at times hackers install programs onto your system in order to track data. A great clue for IT teams is increased network noise levels, newly installed programs as well as system activity during odd times.

Employee Access

IT should also be aware of what data employees have access to. For example, system administrators do not typically have access to financial or customer data. If a system administrator is repeatedly downloading enterprise data, especially at irregular times, it should raise a red flag for IT.
Please keep in mind that not all of these activities should warrant an investigation. For example, some employees regularly work outside of business hours, and a system administrator may download data in order to test its availability for a user. This further proves the importance of understanding your network’s trends.

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