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What is Sensitive Data Exposure? Prevention and Protective Measures

sensitive data exposure

There are multiple ways in which cyber-security criminals can expose your data, sensitive data exposure being the most common way. 

When a company, application, or an organizational entity accidentally exposes the data it leads to Sensitive data exposure. However, do not confuse it with a data breach. 

In a data breach hackers steal user’s data through malicious activities, however on the other hand a sensitive data exposure occurs when an entity is unable to safeguard sensitive data because of existing database and application vulnerabilities. 

Software flaws, weak encryption, loose security walls, no, encryption are some of the reasons behind it. 

What is Sensitive Data? 

  • Health information and track record.
  • Baking details including Credit/Debit card details, account numbers, etc.
  • Account login credentials.
  • Key personal information including the SIN/SSN, date of birth, etc.

Exposure of such vital information can result in identity theft, financial loss, and can even result in reputational loss. 

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Hackers were able to expose around 100 million passwords from VK.com. This means they can now easily login to its user’s accounts and it’s the same login details are being used for other accounts by the users, that account also stands at risk.

What makes an Application vulnerable to Sensitive Data Exposure? 

Here are the most common vulnerability enhancers: 

  • HTTPS links are a synonym of web page authenticity, hence its lack increases vulnerability.
  • The use of plain text for storing sensitive information can also result in data exposure.
  • Apart from these tokens revealed in public sources code is another reason. 
  • Use of weak cryptographic algorithms
  • Hashed passwords with a lack of salt can also make your sensitive data vulnerable.
  • Headers and directives of browser security are missing during the transmission of sensitive data.

How To Counter Sensitive Data Exposure? 

Here are a few simple yet effective ways that will guard you against Sensitive Data exposure. 

  • If not necessary avoid storing sensitive information. Something which is not in existence cannot be stolen.
  • Ensure that all your vital details and confidential information are properly encrypted. This will help you to keep it safe from insider attacks and unauthorized access by external sources.
  • Use a unique and complex password to protect your online accounts. Keeping small and general passwords is not advocated by security experts. Also, never use the same login details for multiple accounts.
  • Regularly monitor your financial transactions and bank accounts. If you notice any unfamiliar activities take all the necessary action as soon as possible. We also advise you to check your credit card statements on a regular basis.
  • Only use websites with HTTPS URLs especially when you are entering your bank details.
  • Use a strong and powerful data encryption and security suite. 

Exposure of Sensitive information can put you in unwanted situations and can lead to financial and reputational losses. Hence, we advise you to take all the necessary precautions to avoid being a victim. 

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