Top 5 Cyberattacks Caused By Human Error

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In the business world, cyberattacks are always a threat. But sometimes, the attacks come from within, as employees unknowingly cause data security breaches with careless actions. Here are five of the most common cyber attacks caused by human error.

Top 5 examples of cyber attacks caused by human error

Toyota Boshoku Corporation

On 14th August 2019, the auto parts supplier Toyota Boshoku Corporation was tricked into making a large fund transfer worth $37.3 million by hackers who posed as one of its business partners and sent carefully crafted emails requesting that such funds be sent to an account they controlled.

It happened just before security experts realized what had happened, but by then, it was too late for any stops or reverse transactions because those harmful events had already taken place.

Sequoia Capital 

Known as one of the oldest and most notable venture capital firms in Silicon Valley, Sequoia Capital was hacked this year.

Cyber security breaches exposing personal information succeeded due to human error when an employee fell victim to phishing while working on their laptop at home late. They were targeted because focus sectors include energy startups (spying) and enterprise companies such as those involved with financial services or healthcare industries.

Entering sensitive data like passwords into websites where hackers can take advantage of it even though the sites are not malicious, taking advantage of human error by using social engineering techniques.


The popular logging package Log4j has a severe bug that could allow an attacker to control your system entirely. Check Point Software Technologies revealed this vulnerability on 22nd November; hackers have used it in over 40% of business networks globally.

Making it one of the most dangerous internet holes out there. Almost thirty percent (30%) of web servers across all industries worldwide are currently affected by Apache’s flaky software.


The Computer Emergency Readiness Team at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (CERT) transmitted Equifax’s client credit reporting agency a statement about Apache Struts vulnerabilities affecting specific versions in 2017.

They were alerted through this email. However, their IT computer security team failed to utilize it properly and continued using old software, which had been reported faulty by numerous sources, including vendors other than themselves.

Equifax’s admission that they were hacked in early May is now making headlines. The company announced an automatic scan could not specify the weak version of Apache Struts. Their device was scanning encrypted traffic required to be more precise because it had passed ten months previously.

Together these delinquencies helped a digital hacker break into Equifax’s system and maintained access until mid-July when things finally caught up with them. Encryption may become increasingly important as we move forward: Once hackers have physical or logical access (hinted at by exfiltrated data).

There are ways for bad actors to install rogue certificates that allow hidden transmissions through HTTPS review resolutions if those directives don’t have full key length and strength. Encryption is also helpful against content-sniffing, a method used by attackers to deduce sensitive information such as usernames and passwords during credential theft attempts (see DeepLocker)


On 5th September, Bob Diachenko from Hacken found a database unprotected by the lack of password protection on Amazon Web Services (AWS). The exposed information contained 200 gigabytes of customer records, including names and email addresses for Veeam’s clients and some IP Addresses that may be used in identity theft attempts against these individuals.

Top 5 human errors that can lead to a cyber attack

Weak password

Passwords are essential for cybersecurity. The longer and more complex, the better. But how seriously do you think your staff takes password security?

Unfortunately, the world is full of cybercriminals who have inventive ways to hack passwords. They now routinely need access to many applications containing confidential information about themselves and customers or employees. A data breach could result in crippling costs & long-term business disruption.

Hackers will crack passwords and access your systems if they need to be trained in the importance of creating strong ones and appropriate storage techniques.

You should also ensure to give staff ongoing reminders about confidentiality when it comes time for them to use new logins across multiple applications or platforms, keeping everyone from creating a single set. And lastly, be regular with updating these details so hackers can stay calm, knowing what might work one day might fail tomorrow.

Outdated software

There are a lot of third-party software out there that could potentially be harmful. Your organization might not know what you’re running on your computer, so it’s essential to have clear policies and guidelines when using these applications, such as keeping up with updates or removing programs entirely if they become unnecessary to protect yourself from malware injections.

The number one cause for data breaches is known vulnerabilities not being patched promptly. Make sure you’re running updates regularly and have not disabled auto-updates, as this will only leave your organization more susceptible to hackers.

Another popular method that occurs due to security holes within a company’s network or computer systems can be called “shadow IT.” When employees install applications without approval from their employers’ IT departments, they often download software that exposes themselves and other people connected via computers on the same network, which could lead to severe headaches.

Carelessly handling data

The Australian Information Commissioner’s (OAIC) recent report clearly shows that carelessness is the leading cause of data breaches. 38% of all such incidents are due to human error, second only behind malicious or criminal attacks on company property.

Some examples include sending personal information (.45%) incorrectly via email, unintentional release or publication (.16%), and failure to use the “blind carbon copy(BCC) function when sending group emails.”

Low-security awareness

Human error in information security is the most common weakness that causes organizations to be vulnerable. This can result from a low-level staff who needs to gain more knowledge about encryption or any other control measures for their company’s data and systems being compromised by hackers looking for vulnerabilities to exploit.

Unauthorized access

Imagine a world where your family or friends could use the same computer as you did at work. You probably wouldn’t give them much thought, but what if they were uncontrollable in their access?

What could happen without proper security measures being put into place for both parties on this device, especially when one person has special privileges because of their position within an organization?

The risk involved with letting loved ones piggyback off our networks and take control over devices is vast since there’s no way we can know exactly who’ll be coming through those doors every time someone comes back from lunch or leaves early during an overtime shift.

Top 5 approaches to prevent human errors

Reduce the opportunities for data breaches

The first step to mitigating human error is changing your work practices, routines and technologies. This would allow you to reduce the opportunity for any possible breaches or leaks that could occur due in part to user mistakes while using these toolsets within a business environment.

Where they have access only to what’s necessary perform their roles, reducing exposure even more so than before. Typically only confidential data would be exposed during such an incident if there were negligence on behalf of employee management leading directly back home base.

Password management

Human error is the leading cause of data breaches, so it’s essential to take steps to reduce these risks. One way you can do this? Introducing password manager apps into your business.

These applications allow employees easy access and management of their passwords without having them stored anywhere publicly accessible, like on post-its or paper notebooks; two-factor authentication also helps add another layer of protection when logging onto accounts online. Password manager apps are a great way to protect your business’s sensitive data.

Change your culture

One of the best ways to ensure security stays a top priority in your organization is by getting people talking about it. Bring up discussion topics around safety and protection, and ensure they’re relevant for end-users who have day jobs that help keep this critical loot alive.

Address lack of knowledge with training

Human error can manifest in many ways, so you must train your employees about all core security topics. Use email, the internet, and social media platforms for training; these are examples of many other things we could discuss.

Humans should not be the weakest link.

Our approach empowers your users with security awareness and tools to help them mitigate human error. We reduce the opportunities for mistakes by giving people more knowledge about how it works to prevent any attacks or breaches from occurring on your business’s network, long-term safeguarding its success.


With the holiday season in full swing, it’s important to remember that cyber criminals are busy too. They know that people are more likely to let their guard down and make mistakes when rushed or stressed – which is why your business needs to be extra vigilant this time of year.

Thanks for reading. We hope you found our discussion of the top 5 cyber attacks caused by human error helpful. Please check out our website for more information on how to protect your business from these types of attacks.

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