Detecting Exposed Company Data: The What, Why, and How

Detecting Exposed Company Data: The What, Why, and How
Michael Marriott
Read More From Michael Marriott
March 12, 2019 | 3 Min Read

What is data loss detection?

A fundamental responsibility for any IT security professional is to secure their information assets, be that customer data, financial information, or any other critical information. This is critical for maintaining a competitive advantage, avoiding regulatory fines, and remaining compliant.

Often the focus is on controlling flows of sensitive data over the perimeter or within the network, perhaps with Data Loss Prevention solutions. Unfortunately, a significant amount of organizations’ data is already exposed online. Organizations need to detect and remove this information before it falls into the hands of adversaries.

 

Top five types of data loss

Every week, 50% of our customers detect exposed sensitive data, which can be any of the following five types.

  1. Technical information. Code-sharing sites like GitHub can be a goldmine for adversaries when sensitive technical information becomes inadvertently exposed. Typical examples include private RSA keys, admin credentials, proprietary code, and network information.
  2. Employee credentials. With employees re-using their work emails across third parties, exposed credentials can enable attackers to perform account takeovers. These can be emails of individuals, but also departments. For example, last year we found that over 33,000 accounting inbox credentials are exposed – potentially facilitating Business Email Compromise.
  3. Sensitive documents. This can include exposed contracts, employee pay stubs, and confidential board minutes. These can reference sensitive projects, company performance, or upcoming merger and acquisitions.
  4. Intellectual Property. Exposed intellectual property, such as product designs and patent information, leaves you vulnerable to corporate espionage and competitive intelligence.
  5. Customer Data. Exposed customer details, such as PII (Personally Identifiable Information), can create brand and business risk, as well as regulatory problems.

 

Third parties a leading cause of data loss

While malicious insiders can be responsible for data loss, it’s more often a result of inadvertent employees or third party actions. This was starkly portrayed in our Too Much Information research, in which we analyzed how online file stores  expose data. In total, we discovered over 1.5 billion files exposed across misconfigured S3 buckets, SMB, R-Sync and FTP servers. Within these files were a worrying number of security assessments, network diagrams, penetration tests, and IT audits made available through third parties.

 

How SearchLight detects data loss

Digital Shadows SearchLight™ enables organizations to detect data loss. With SearchLight, organizations register their document marking systems, email headers, and intellectual property. SearchLight then continually monitors for these assets across the open, deep, and dark web to detect where this data is exposed. Each alert includes recommendation actions, including the ability to launch takedowns from within the SearchLight portal.

 

Free tools to get started

You can read more about the risks surrounding exposed data in our Practical Guide to Reducing Digital Risk. This guide also outlines some free and inexpensive tools that organizations can use to start detecting data loss.

Access Our Threat Intel In Test Drive

Test Drive SearchLight Free for 7 Days
Try It Now

Connect with us

Related Posts

Access Keys Exposed: More Than 40% Are For Database Stores

Access Keys Exposed: More Than 40% Are For Database Stores

September 14, 2020 | 6 Min Read

By now, we’ve all heard news about AWS...
What is DevSecOps and Why Do We Need It?

What is DevSecOps and Why Do We Need It?

August 12, 2020 | 4 Min Read

DevSecOps, SecDevOps, and any...
Validate Exposed Credentials with Okta to Save Even More Time

Validate Exposed Credentials with Okta to Save Even More Time

August 24, 2020 | 3 Min Read

SearchLight customers can now automatically...
Account takeover: Expanding on impact

Account takeover: Expanding on impact

July 27, 2020 | 7 Min Read

Digital Shadows has collected over 15 billion...
SearchLight’s Credential Validation: Only Focus on What Matters

SearchLight’s Credential Validation: Only Focus on What Matters

July 14, 2020 | 4 Min Read

Of the many use cases associated with threat...
Reducing technical leakage: Detecting software exposure from the outside-in

Reducing technical leakage: Detecting software exposure from the outside-in

June 16, 2020 | 6 Min Read

Modern Development Practices Leads to...
The 2020 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report: One CISO’s View

The 2020 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report: One CISO’s View

May 19, 2020 | 6 Min Read

Sadly, Marvel’s Black Widow release date was...
A NEW DECADE OF CYBER THREATS: LOOKING BACK AT THE TRENDING CYBER TOPICS OF Q1 2020

A NEW DECADE OF CYBER THREATS: LOOKING BACK AT THE TRENDING CYBER TOPICS OF Q1 2020

May 14, 2020 | 10 Min Read

Q1 2020 was packed full of significant...
How to minimize cybersecurity breaches in 2020

How to minimize cybersecurity breaches in 2020

April 8, 2020 | 9 Min Read

Seriously, don’t click back or close – I...
COVID-19: Third-party risks to businesses

COVID-19: Third-party risks to businesses

March 31, 2020 | 5 Min Read

As social distancing becomes more prevalent...
Threat Model of a Remote Worker

Threat Model of a Remote Worker

March 25, 2020 | 7 Min Read

Threat models are an often discussed but...
Want to Control Your Ever-Changing Perimeter? Focus on Integrations.

Want to Control Your Ever-Changing Perimeter? Focus on Integrations.

March 4, 2020 | 5 Min Read

An ever changing perimeter? Over the past few...
How Digital Shadows Helped Find and Remediate an Exposed Admin Password on Github

How Digital Shadows Helped Find and Remediate an Exposed Admin Password on Github

January 23, 2020 | 5 Min Read

  I often get asked to share examples of...
Third Party Risk: 4 ways to manage your security ecosystem

Third Party Risk: 4 ways to manage your security ecosystem

January 16, 2020 | 5 Min Read

  The digital economy has multiplied the...
2020 Cybersecurity Forecasts: 5 trends and predictions for the new year

2020 Cybersecurity Forecasts: 5 trends and predictions for the new year

December 18, 2019 | 10 Min Read

  If all the holiday fuss isn’t...
2.3 billion files exposed across online file storage technologies

2.3 billion files exposed across online file storage technologies

December 3, 2019 | 17 Min Read

Originally published May 2019 2.3 billion is a...
Understanding the Consequences of Data Leakage through History

Understanding the Consequences of Data Leakage through History

October 24, 2019 | 4 Min Read

One of the most interesting aspects of...
Honeypots: Tracking Attacks Against Misconfigured or Exposed Services

Honeypots: Tracking Attacks Against Misconfigured or Exposed Services

October 17, 2019 | 9 Min Read

Honeypots can be useful tools for gathering...
ANU Breach Report: Mapping to Mitre ATT&CK Framework

ANU Breach Report: Mapping to Mitre ATT&CK Framework

October 11, 2019 | 14 Min Read

Introduction This week, the Australian National...
DevSecOps: Continued Database Exposures Point to Growing Challenges

DevSecOps: Continued Database Exposures Point to Growing Challenges

September 24, 2019 | 5 Min Read

Last week, we learned that millions of...
Your Data at Risk: FBI Cyber Division Shares Top Emerging Cyber Threats to Your Enterprise

Your Data at Risk: FBI Cyber Division Shares Top Emerging Cyber Threats to Your Enterprise

September 17, 2019 | 8 Min Read

Data breaches are not slowing down. Nobody...
Capital One Breach: What we know and what you can do

Capital One Breach: What we know and what you can do

July 31, 2019 | 5 Min Read

Monday blues. It’s a thing. It’s when you...
Harnessing Exposed Data to Enhance Cyber Intelligence

Harnessing Exposed Data to Enhance Cyber Intelligence

July 11, 2019 | 7 Min Read

  An illicit and lucrative trade has...
Leaky SMB File Shares – So Many Bytes!

Leaky SMB File Shares – So Many Bytes!

June 19, 2019 | 5 Min Read

Everyone loves a sequel. If you’re an avid...
Managing Digital Risk: 4 Steps to Take

Managing Digital Risk: 4 Steps to Take

June 18, 2019 | 9 Min Read

Organizations are finding it increasingly...
Enabling Soi Dog’s Digital Transformation: A Case Study

Enabling Soi Dog’s Digital Transformation: A Case Study

May 8, 2019 | 3 Min Read

At the beginning of this year I was introduced to...
Reducing your attack surface

Reducing your attack surface

April 9, 2019 | 4 Min Read

What is an attack surface According to OWASP, an...
Introducing Our Practical Guide to Reducing Digital Risk

Introducing Our Practical Guide to Reducing Digital Risk

February 12, 2019 | 5 Min Read

Download a copy of A Practical Guide to Reducing...
Understanding Digital Risk Protection

Understanding Digital Risk Protection

February 8, 2019 | 3 Min Read

There has been a lot of talk recently about...
SingHealth Breach Post-mortem: Key Findings

SingHealth Breach Post-mortem: Key Findings

January 29, 2019 | 5 Min Read

On 10 January 2019, Singaporean authorities...
Law Firm Uncovers Exposed Sensitive Details About Top Attorney Online

Law Firm Uncovers Exposed Sensitive Details About Top Attorney Online

November 15, 2018 | 2 Min Read

VIPs and executives who are critical to your...
81,000 Hacked Facebook Accounts for Sale: 5 Things to Know

81,000 Hacked Facebook Accounts for Sale: 5 Things to Know

November 2, 2018 | 5 Min Read

This morning, the British Broadcasting...
Cyber Security Awareness Month: Week 1 – Credential Hygiene

Cyber Security Awareness Month: Week 1 – Credential Hygiene

October 3, 2018 | 5 Min Read

It’s the opening week of the annual National...
GAO’s Equifax Post-mortem Report

GAO’s Equifax Post-mortem Report

September 11, 2018 | 5 Min Read

It’s common for the exciting and novel issues...
Digital Shadows Contributes to Insider Threat Research

Digital Shadows Contributes to Insider Threat Research

August 9, 2018 | 5 Min Read

On July 30, Forrester published its latest...
Reducing Your Attack Surface: From a Firehose to a Straw

Reducing Your Attack Surface: From a Firehose to a Straw

July 5, 2018 | 6 Min Read

What is Attack Surface Reduction? Attack Surface...
Keys to the Kingdom: Exposed Security Assessments

Keys to the Kingdom: Exposed Security Assessments

April 24, 2018 | 4 Min Read

Organizations employ external consultants and...
Out In The Open: Corporate Secrets Exposed Through Misconfigured Services

Out In The Open: Corporate Secrets Exposed Through Misconfigured Services

April 18, 2018 | 4 Min Read

For organizations dealing with proprietary...
When There’s No Need to Hack: Exposed Personal Information

When There’s No Need to Hack: Exposed Personal Information

April 17, 2018 | 4 Min Read

With Equifax‘s breach of 145 million records...
Leveraging the 2018 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report

Leveraging the 2018 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report

April 10, 2018 | 5 Min Read

Today, the 11th edition of the Verizon Data...
When Sharing Is Not Caring: Over 1.5 Billion Files Exposed Through Misconfigured Services

When Sharing Is Not Caring: Over 1.5 Billion Files Exposed Through Misconfigured Services

April 5, 2018 | 4 Min Read

Our recent report “Too Much Information”,...
Ransomware in 2018: 4 Things to Look Out For

Ransomware in 2018: 4 Things to Look Out For

March 8, 2018 | 4 Min Read

Ransomware remains an active threat for...
Data Privacy Day: 8 Key Recommendations for GDPR Readiness

Data Privacy Day: 8 Key Recommendations for GDPR Readiness

January 26, 2018 | 4 Min Read

This Sunday is Data Privacy Day, “an...
Don’t Rely on One Star to Manage Digital Risk, The Key is Total Coverage

Don’t Rely on One Star to Manage Digital Risk, The Key is Total Coverage

January 16, 2018 | 5 Min Read

This post originally appeared on...
GDPR: Why You Need to Consider the Personal Data That Lies Outside of Your Organization

GDPR: Why You Need to Consider the Personal Data That Lies Outside of Your Organization

January 4, 2018 | 3 Min Read

In 2010, reports emerged that the Information...
GDPR – Not Just a European Concern

GDPR – Not Just a European Concern

November 20, 2017 | 6 Min Read

This post originally appeared...
Why “Have a Safe Trip” Is Taking On Greater Meaning

Why “Have a Safe Trip” Is Taking On Greater Meaning

November 14, 2017 | 5 Min Read

This post originally appeared...
equifax research report

2017 Equifax Breach: Impact and Lessons Learned

September 28, 2017 | 3 Min Read

Equifax experienced a data breach that occurred...
equifax breach update

An Update on the Equifax Data Breach

September 13, 2017 | 8 Min Read

The credit reporting agency Equifax...
Equifax Breach Assessment

Equifax Breach: The Impact For Enterprises and Consumers

September 8, 2017 | 9 Min Read

What we know about the Equifax breach On...
Credential Exposure Data Loss Blog

Bitglass: Compromised Credentials are Just One Way Your Corporate Data is Being Exposed

August 18, 2017 | 2 Min Read

A guest blog from Bitglass, read the original...
NIST Authentication

Authentication Nation: 5 Ways NIST is Changing How We Think About Passwords

May 9, 2017 | 4 Min Read

Passwords have taken a beating over the past...
Brand Reputation Digital Risk

The 3 Pillars of Digital Risk Management: Part 3 – The Top 5 Main Risks of Reputational Damage

April 27, 2017 | 2 Min Read

In this 3-part blog series, we discuss how each...
Cyber Threats

The 3 Pillars of Digital Risk Management: Part 1 Understanding Cyber Threats

April 13, 2017 | 3 Min Read

What is Digital Risk Management? The National...
Five Tips To Make Your Passwords Better

Five Tips To Make Your Passwords Better

September 26, 2016 | 4 Min Read

While security is everyone’s responsibility,...
breached data

The Industrialized Uses of Breached Data

September 21, 2016 | 4 Min Read

In our first blog, we outlined a number of...
credential compromise

Beauty and the Breach: Leaked Credentials in Context

September 21, 2016 | 4 Min Read

Our analysts recently researched credential...
New report: 97 percent of the top 1,000 companies suffer from credential compromise

New report: 97 percent of the top 1,000 companies suffer from credential compromise

September 20, 2016 | 2 Min Read

Data breaches and credential compromise are not...
Shadow Brokers

Four Things We’ve Learned From the Alleged Equation Group Code Leak

August 22, 2016 | 4 Min Read

The wake of the deeply bizarre auction of...
Wall of Sheep

Gambling with Security in Vegas: Not Your Best Bet

July 27, 2016 | 4 Min Read

With BSides Las Vegas, Black Hat, and DEF CON...
thedarkoverlord

Thedarkoverlord – losing his patients?

July 26, 2016 | 4 Min Read

In late June 2016, we observed a spate of attacks...
breach disclosure

5 Key Lessons From The FDIC’s Breach Disclosure Debacle

July 18, 2016 | 4 Min Read

Last week, the United States House Science, Space...
thedarkoverlord

10 ways to prepare for credential leak incidents

June 30, 2016 | 2 Min Read

From LinkedIn to MySpace, threat actors like...
OpAfrica

Data breaches targeting financial services: 2016 so far

May 26, 2016 | 3 Min Read

It’s been a busy year for data breaches...
Bozkurt Hackers

Bozkurt Hackers continue to leak bank data

May 13, 2016 | 4 Min Read

A threat actor calling itself “Bozkurt...
DBIR

Analyzing the 2016 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report

May 2, 2016 | 4 Min Read

Last week Verizon released the 2016 Data Breach...
Hacking Team

The Hacking Team breach – an attacker’s point of view

April 22, 2016 | 3 Min Read

On 17 April 2016, two posts were added to...
ransomware

Emerging Markets: Online Extortion Matures via DDoS Attacks

November 9, 2015 | 5 Min Read

Unlike scenes from books or movies where shadowy...
TalkTalk

TalkTalk: Avoiding The Hype

October 28, 2015 | 4 Min Read

There has been no shortage of media coverage on...
Adult Friend Finder

The Adult Friend Finder Breach: A Recap

September 7, 2015 | 5 Min Read

27th May 2015: Last week, news quickly...
Al Hayat

Saudi Arabia MOFA Breach

September 7, 2015 | 5 Min Read

Introduction As of April 2015 there were more...