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The Hidden Threat: How Cache Can Compromise Your Company’s Data Security

Caches let you work faster by storing the data you frequently access and quickly retrieving it when needed. But if a cybercriminal gained access to these caches, some of your company’s data would end up in their hands.

Keith Peterson
Keith Peterson
Nov 21, 20237.5K Shares102.9K Views
Jump to
  1. Cache and Its Uses
  2. Why Cache is a Security Risk
  3. How Cache Can Compromise Company Data
  4. How Criminals Get Access to Cached Data
  5. The Risks of iPhone Cache
  6. Best Practices for Cache Management in Companies
The Hidden Threat: How Cache Can Compromise Your Company’s Data Security

Caches let you work faster by storing the data you frequently access and quickly retrieving it when needed. But if a cybercriminal gained access to these caches, some of your company’s data would end up in their hands. While businesses focus on the more obvious threats like phishing or malware, they overlook the less prominent one—the cache. Learn about what it is and how toprotect your company’s sensitive data stored in the cache.

Cache and Its Uses

Cache is a form of computer memory that stores temporary data to speed up the retrieval of information you regularly access. This function enhances your experience of using your laptop or smartphone by loading websites faster and making your apps more responsive. However, the very utility that makes cache indispensable also poses significant risks.

Why Cache is a Security Risk

Although caching improves your browsing and device use experience, it also poses a security risk by storing sensitive data, including personal information, login credentials, and browsing history. For example, unauthorized individuals or malicious applications could potentially gain access to this data and obtain your login credentials, images, and files kept in cache memory. This could lead to significant privacy breaches in the company.

How Cache Can Compromise Company Data

In a corporate setting, the implications of a data breach are even more severe, making cache protection even more important. Employees often access company data through their personal mobile devices. Cached information from these sessions can become a backdoor to confidential company information.

Prevention of data breaches is paramount in sectors where data security is crucial, such as finance, healthcare, and legal services. But how do criminals get their hands on cached data?

How Criminals Get Access to Cached Data

Cybercriminals typically gain access to cached data by using malware and malicious apps, carrying out phishing attacks, or exploiting unsecured Wi-Fi networks.

  • Malware and malicious apps. Cybercriminals create or distribute apps that request excessive permissions. For example, a malicious weather app may request location access to steal cached location history.
  • Phishing attacks. Phishing emails or text messages trick users into clicking on malicious links. These links can lead to fraudulent websites that exploit browser cache vulnerabilities to steal sensitive information like login credentials.
  • Unsecured Wi-Fi networks. When you’re connected to unsecured Wi-Fi networks, cybercriminals on the same network can intercept data packets, potentially including cached data transmitted between your device and the internet.
  • DNS cache poisoning. In DNS cache poisoning attacks, cybercriminals inject malicious data into the DNS cache. This is done to redirect users to malicious websites or intercept their online traffic that might contain sensitive information.
  • Web cache poisoning. In a web cache poisoning attack, attackers manipulate HTTP request and response headers to store malicious data in a server or intermediary cache. When unsuspecting users visit the site, they receive malicious contentfrom the cache, which may lead to data breaches.

The Risks of iPhone Cache

On iPhones, cache stores data ranging from website history to login information, making it a potential goldmine for cybercriminals. Users often increase this risk by using their iPhones for both personal and professional purposes. So, how do you clear your iPhone cache?

Clearing Cache on iPhones

You can clear your iPhone’s default browser cache by going to “Settings” > “Safari” and selecting “Clear History and Website Data.”

Many apps also offer the option to clear cache within their settings, so go to each app’s settings and look for the options “Clear cache,” “Clear data,” or “Clear storage.” Make sure to regularly clear your apps’ cache to further safeguard your data.

Best Practices for Cache Management in Companies

To combat cache-related risks, companies should develop and enforce policies for managing cache on both company-owned and personal devices. Here are several effective actions every company can take to mitigate privacy violations:

Employee Training

Continually educate your employees about the latest security threats and best practices for managing them. Point out the importance of regularly clearing their devices’ cache and reporting any suspicious activity on their company accounts and devices.

Advanced Cybersecurity Features and Tools

  • Enable device-level encryption to protect data stored on smartphones and laptops.
  • Use a VPN to protect your company’s dataover potentially unsecured networks, for example, when you use public Wi-Fi while traveling for work.
  • Implement mobile device management (MDM) solutions to centrally manage and secure mobile devices used for work.
  • Maintain a list of approved apps for work-related tasks.
  • Enforce strong authentication methods, for example, biometric or multi-factor authentication (MFA).
  • Use containerization solutions that create secure compartments on devices to separate work data from personal data and prevent leakage.
  • Implement secure browsing solutions that isolate work-related web sessions.

Deploy data loss prevention (DLP) solutions to monitor and curb unauthorized sharing or transfer of sensitive data from mobile devices.

In an era where data is as valuable as currency, overlooking cache risks could be a costly mistake. Cybersecurity awareness, security solutions, and vigilant reaction to potential breaches are key to securing all types of company data, including cached data.

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