Data theft, or the illegal movement of data from a device or network is known as data exfiltration. Once hackers obtain data inside the network, they frequently compress and encrypt it before evading detection.

What Causes Data Exfiltration?

Outsiders can undertake data exfiltration by breaking into the network and stealing user passwords, intellectual property, and corporate secrets. Outsider assaults often begin with the insertion of malware into a business network endpoint, such as a computer or mobile device. The virus sends the data to an external server controlled by an outsider, who may sell or broadcast it.

When an insider transfers data outside of the network, such as by sending it to a non-corporate email account or transferring it to an insecure cloud storage service or software-as-a-service (SaaS) product, data exfiltration can occur. These acts are frequently carried out with good intentions by workers who are simply trying to do their jobs. Still, they expose the data to danger by removing it from the monitoring of the security team and business regulations.

Techniques for Common Data Exfiltration

Data Exfiltration
Data Exfiltration

Social Engineering

One of the most popular ways of data exfiltration is social engineering. An attacker dupes a user into disclosing sensitive data or credentials by appearing as a legitimate employee or partner. An adversary, for example, may act as a help desk representative and request sensitive information from a user, such as a login and a password.

Phishing is a popular sort of social engineering assault. The attacker sends consumers an email that looks to be from a genuine source, such as the human resources department, in phishing assaults. The email will direct the user to a link that will take them to a fake site that appears precisely like the legitimate human resources portal. This bogus site may have been created to collect passwords, or the site’s code may contain a malicious script that installs a keylogger or other malware, which will then be used to carry out the next step of the phishing attempt.

Errors Made by Humans

Careless insiders often download sensitive corporate data from secure company-issued devices to personal devices not secured by their companies’ network security solutions or regulations. Instead, the data is completely unsecured or only protected by the most rudimentary consumer security solutions. In this case, data exfiltration may comprise more than just file movement; it might also include images of monitor screens taken with cellphones, conversations recorded with smartphones, and so on.

Upload of Insider Threat to External Device

Malicious insiders are less prevalent than their reckless peers, yet they may cause far more damage. A hostile insider can utilize valid credentials to undertake nefarious operations for an extraordinarily long time before discovery – if detection occurs at all. Because these users’ credentials are valid, their data exfiltration assault will go unnoticed until they move vast volumes of important data or attempt to access sections outside their privilege level. Malicious insiders typically take data from a trusted device onto a personal device or flash drive, then upload it to an external server, such as a dark web storage service, before selling or spreading it.

Data Exfiltration Prevention

The data on how long it takes to identify a data breach is concerning. This is because identifying data exfiltration is difficult, especially when the attacker’s data exfiltration approach masquerades as normal network traffic.

The most critical protective technique a company can implement is also the most difficult: training people. Many firms already do this through regular mandated security awareness training, but most employees underestimate their risk of being targeted. Businesses must foster a security culture throughout the company before they can trust their workers to operate as the first line of defence.

Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) rules should be established and communicated to all workers. With the trend towards remote working, employees can now access important data from any personal device, from a child’s gaming system to a Windows 8 tower. Therefore, monitoring the network to identify who is signing on and what devices are being used is critical to avoid a data breach today and understand how users interact with the network to prepare better for tomorrow.

Control privilege to combat both benign and hostile insider threats. That means granting only the least amount of privilege and dynamically controlling privilege so that when an employee’s reason for accessing a sensitive system no longer exists, they no longer have access. And systematically revoking privileges for former employees from the moment their employment ends rather than waiting a week or two to clean up old accounts.


Rhyno delivers a range of activities that combine to fully protect your infrastructure and data from cybercriminals, anywhere and everywhere, 24/7/365.


About Rhyno Cybersecurity Services

Rhyno Cybersecurity is a Canadian-based company focusing on 24/7 Managed Detection and Response, Penetration Testing, Enterprise Cloud, and Cybersecurity Solutions for small and midsize businesses.

Our products and services are robust, innovative, and cost-effective. Underpinned by our 24x7x365 Security Operations Centre (SOC), our experts ensure you have access to cybersecurity expertise when you need it the most.

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