Sensitive Data Exposure Vulnerability: Causes and Prevention

When a user enters any information on a web application, it is based on the trust that the server will protect that sensitive data. But the data breaches occurring time and again results in skepticism. With the plethora of web applications available today, the vulnerability of the sensitive user data exposure has also increased.

In most cases of security breaches, overexposed and vulnerable unstructured data like files, documents, and sensitive information were involved. Hackers take advantage of inadequate security and unencrypted data stored, transmitted or processed. Sensitive data exposure, vulnerability occurs when a web application fails to adequately protect sensitive information from being revealed to illegitimate users.

Exposure of sensitive data can be caused by external as well as internal attacks. A disgruntled employee poses more threat than any outsider since the employee already have access to the company’s information and have the power to abuse it. Cloud storing is a convenient option for the storage of your data, but if it is not properly secured, it provides an open platform for attacks. Malignant attacks may also occur by accidentally clicking on a suspicious link, visiting untrustworthy websites or downloading of malicious malware.

To process, analyze and visualize the data points, data scientists use various web-based platforms. Any unauthorized attacks may lead to serious violations of information security and data privacy. Building security in these applications from the beginning is beneficial in the long run.

To prevent such attacks, there is a need for effective implementation of security measures like:

  1. Encrypt the data and define accessibility: It is crucial to encrypt the data, information whether in stored or transit form. Any data in the form of open text are a downright invitation for the attackers. Identify the data that requires extra protection and limit the accessibility to only a bunch of legitimate users only by enforcing key based encryption.
  2. Secure authentication gateways: Use the advanced standard security technology like SSL or TSL to ensure that all the data passed between the browser and the web server is encrypted and remains private. Application of HTTPS sessions provides a secure communication protocol.
  3. Prevent password attacks: Penetration because of weak passwords is the most common type of security breach. Make sure to use a strong password by applying a password hashing function algorithm. Keep changing the password from time to time and do not use the same password for different platforms.
  4. Conduct regular risk assessment: Risk levels and liabilities may alter with the change of business processes. It is necessary to periodically monitor and update the security system to counter any potential threat.
  5. Have a backup plan: In the case of a theft, maximum loss occurs because of the absence of any backup. Keeping a protected and secure backup of the sensitive data can help mitigate these losses.

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