Nobody’s immune to hacking. This is especially true for organizations because corporate hacking is, unfortunately, a recurring theme. With so many ways your company can get hacked, it’s difficult to know whether you should use specialized software, have better password policies, instruct your employees about the threat of hacking, or take any number of measures.

In this article, we’ll discuss the five most common ways to get hacked and what to do about them.

How Do Breaches and Hacks Occur?

There are many ways in which your company can get hacked. Hacking attempts generally exploit one or both human error and software vulnerabilities. More often than not, it’s a combination of these two factors that allow hacking to take place.

This means we have two major terms for compromised information: data hack and data breach. Data hacking happens when there’s an intentional attack against your organization, whereas a data breach encompasses data hacking and includes information leaks, which are usually unintentional.

To make it clearer, a data hack happens when someone deliberately targets you or your company, whereas a data breach can happen because of weaknesses in existing software settings, malware infections, or perfectly innocent human error.

What’s the Effect of a Hack on Businesses?

There are myriad problems a successful hacking attempt can cause for your business. Here’s an overview of the most critical aspects:

  • Financial

This is perhaps the most immediate outcome, and there are many reasons for this. To start with, the hacker might have had access to the financial information they can later use (such as banking data).

It can also disrupt your services, making you lose sales or clients. This is the case when they attack your infrastructure, i.e., making your eShop unusable, not allowing people to log in (including your employees), and more.

  • Reputational

This is perhaps the most crucial point: if a successful hacking attempt gets public, it can irreparably damage your reputation. This is especially true if the hacker was able to retrieve your customers’ personal information.

A good example of this is Ashley Madison. This website was used for people wanting an affair and was subjected to a cyberattack in 2015. Private info from millions of people was exposed to the public, including physical and email addresses. The company suffered a major reputational blow and hasn’t fully recovered since.

  • Fines

According to the General Data Protection Regulation, you need to offer a secure website for your customers. If you don’t, you’re subject to regulatory fines. If you have customers in regions where the GDPR applies, you can get fines up to 4% of your annual turnover.

5 Ways to Get Hacked

Hackers are constantly on the lookout for new ways to target their victims. This isn’t a comprehensive list, but they’re the most common ways in which you can get hacked.

Social engineering

This is undoubtedly the most important aspect of hacking. Human errors are a major factor in hacking because often, the hacker needs some inside information to perform their actions.

The most common method is pretending to be someone they’re not, winning the employee’s trust. This can come in the form of phishing, that is, sending emails that look real and asking the user to click or log into something. This information is then later used for the hacker to log in.

But phishing isn’t the only way. Hackers can also call you on the phone, pretending to be someone they’re not, to get crucial information or facilitate further attacks. A hacker can call your company pretending to be your client, telling you they’ll send you an email shortly. This email later turns out to be a phishing attempt.

How businesses can protect themselves

To combat the threat, the best course of action is to educate your employees and have strict policies on how to handle phone calls and emails from unknown senders.

Network hacking

Poor network security is one of the easiest ways a hacker can get into your computer or organization. This can come from many different directions, such as poor Wi-Fi security or problems with your internal network.

Network Cables

For instance, an unprotected Wi-Fi network (or with outdated security such as WEP) can be hacked by anyone without needing much skill. This means that the hacker will receive all data that you’re transmitting over the internet, including banking details, emails, and more.

There’s also the possibility that your private network has security issues, such as outdated software. The important point is that anyone gaining access to your network is potentially able to get all the information they want.

How businesses can protect themselves

The best fix is using the latest security recommendations for Wi-Fi and any other type of network. Currently, the best Wi-Fi protocol is the WPA3, so you should make sure your company’s using it. Your communications should use SSL encryption, which protects your company’s data by making messages almost indecipherable by any outside attacks.

Bring Your Own Doom

If the title sounds dramatic, it’s because it is. Bring Your Own Doom refers to a critical security failure that allows employees to connect their devices to your corporate network. This includes allowing employees to use their own computers for work.

If any USB stick, phone, or other connected device is infected by malicious software, it can allow hackers to get full access to your network. Personal devices are particularly risky since users often don’t take into consideration the latest security recommendations or they use outdated software.

If personal computers are used for work, it can become an even worse problem. This is because the employee will probably keep confidential company info stored, which could be easily stolen, both physically and digitally.

How businesses can protect themselves

Fortunately, this has an easy fix: don’t let your employees connect their personal devices to your corporate network, and don’t let employees use their own computers for work. Even though it could be a considerable investment, providing them with corporate computers when working from home can prevent a lot of headaches later on.

Weak passwords

This is the oldest one in the book and, incredibly, still one of the most overlooked. You can invest a lot of money in better security systems, but they won’t make a difference if your company doesn’t have a strong password policy.

This isn’t something where you can rely on your employee’s common sense, either. For example, in 2022, the most common password was “password”, followed by “123456”, “123456789” and “guest.”

How businesses can protect themselves

A strong password policy is a must. You should employ systems that demand all kinds of characters (lower and upper case, numbers, and special symbols) for all passwords, with at least 12 characters. It’s also a good idea to deploy a system with suggested passwords.

Strong Password

The best combination of characters is to make passwords completely random since they’re much more difficult to guess, and it can take a lot of time for brute-force attacks to discover them.

Vulnerable software

This is another preferred choice for hackers. Some individuals are literally looking for software vulnerabilities daily to access a system. For instance, they might be actively looking for a way to access your admin account in your eCommerce software.

Worst of all, there might be a known vulnerability in certain software that allows hackers to access your private network. There are common attacks to exploit this, such as a buffer overflow, which is trying to “break” the software by making it store more data than the allocated memory allows. Other examples include misconfigurations, injecting malicious code, and more.

How businesses can protect themselves

Always keep your software updated to the latest version and inform the developer about security issues immediately. If a critical issue remains unsolved, stop using that software as soon as possible and find other options.

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of things that can go wrong in a company that might allow hacking to take place. We’ve explored some of the most common hacking situations and what to do about them. However, this isn’t a passive task – you need to constantly be on the lookout for new ways hackers can access your systems and how to prevent them.

It all boils down to information sharing. Any activity involving data sharing needs to be thought of as “potentially hackable,” and you need to ensure it doesn’t happen. If sharing confidential documentation is critical for your company, SecureDocSharing can help you send files securely and easily.


  • It means that the business was accessed by unauthorized third parties. As a result, business activity could have been disrupted and information stolen. It could also lead to other criminal activities, such as hackers using banking data to steal funds, or blackmail.

  • Data breach is when information is stolen without authorization. This means that any successful hacking attempt is a data breach. How this information is stolen, and the nature of the information is irrelevant when it comes to the term.

  • There are many different hacking attacks, and each must be dealt with differently. For some basic advice, your business needs to have its software constantly updated, and your employees have to be instructed in social engineering. Aside from this, you need to enforce strict security measures regarding passwords, devices, and software.