Data Security: 5 Ways Hackers Can Access Your Data

With the increasing number of people that are shopping, performing confidential tasks, and doing their banking online, there is a lot of sensitive information that is being stored on computers and in organization networks. Here are a few ways that hackers can access data within an organization without installing malware, along with a few tips on how you can protect yourself against these certain types of data breaches.

Honey Traps

Honey traps occur when an individual approaches you at work or in any other environment and asks if they can use your computer. The individual who appears to be harmless is actually armed with a USB key that can be used to obtain sensitive information from your computer.

Although the individual may seem harmless, it is a good idea to not let anyone use your computer even if the reason they want to use it seems innocent.


A sniffer is a hacking device that is attached to your computer for the purpose of recording all of your passwords. In order for the hacker to access your passwords they would also have to access your PC to install the sniffing device.

Make sure your organization has some kind of security policy in place that limits access to all of the computers on the network. Even if your computer is password protected, they can still install a sniffing device.

Default Passwords

If you are working with new equipment, a vendor usually installs a default password which PC users often forget to change after the equipment is installed. Usually the default password is something very generic like "pass" that is very easy for the hacker to guess.

Make sure you remember to change default passwords right after the equipment is installed and then store your passwords where no one else can access them.

Brute Force Software

This is used to steal passwords by employing software that will continually try different passwords until it gets the right one.

To protect yourself against the use of brute force software you can configure your programs to only allow a certain number of password attempts.

Fraudulent IT Support

Some hackers spend a lot of time researching the IT support companies that organizations deal with. Then they contact people within the organization pretending to be someone from the IT support company.  They attempt to obtain password information by saying they have to perform a maintenance task.

Make sure your organization uses a reputable IT support service and that they have security procedures that outline how the individual from the IT support company will identify themselves.

These are some of the other methods that hackers use to perform data breaches. These are alternative methods to infecting your PC with a Trojan or other type of malware that performs spying or keylogging procedures for breaching data security.

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In 2003, more than 10 million Americans fell victim to identity theft.

Identity theft costs business and individuals $53 billion dollars annually

In 2003, Americans spent 300 million hours resolving issues related to identity theft.

70% of all identity theft cases are perpetrated by a co-worker or employee of an affiliated business.