A data breach is when an external, unauthorized party breaches a personal or enterprise network in order to access personal or sensitive information. Information like bank details, social security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers, and health records are all examples of this data. Data breaches may lead to private information being made public or in the hands of wrongdoers. Statistics and reports indicate that there is a data breach victim every 2 seconds.
Data breaches can be accidental or intentional. For example, a hacker may compromise a company’s database in order to access employee or customer information.
The biggest problem is that any company, organization, or individual is susceptible to a data breach. Let’s take a look at how these data breaches happen.
How do Data Breaches Occur?
There are various ways that data breaches can occur. The following are some of the most common causes of data breaches:
Insider Privilege Misuse
Information is a valuable asset in today’s world. There are several cases where people in a company may compromise employee information by stealing and selling it on the web. It is one of the most common kinds of data breaches, and the hardest to detect by victims.
Physical theft is a scenario of a data breach due to a misplaced device. For example, if a user forgets their laptop in a hotel, the management could access it, and breach information without your permission. Know that this kind of breach can be accidental or deliberate, depending on the situation.
Denial of Service
The denial of service attacks the networks and internet systems. These kinds of breaches overload the servers and systems to disrupt services.
Malware is various codes and programs designed to access unauthorized data. These are the kind of software that most criminals use to breach information for financial gains. Following are some of the most common types of these data breaches.
This kind of data breach involves a hacker or data breach expert posing as a reliable source to collect information from users. They can contact users through their phones, SMS, e-mails, etc. The main aim is to make the users install malware to breach information, and compromise it.
Ransomware is codes or programs that render a system useless unless the user pays a ransom fee to regain access to their device.
Hackers use arbitrary code online using an online user forum. It can corrupt the website if the user does not take care of it at the backend level.
Web Application Attacks
The web application you sign up for, usually asks users for their personal information before allowing them to operate online. Attackers can steal sensitive information from these sites including your name, address, number, and exploit it in any way possible.
Hackers can place a skimming device that reads payment cards without the users knowing it. There are mainly two main targets for this kind of data breach, the ATMs and gas pump terminals. The hackers can access your bank account and make transactions.
These kinds of attacks are focused on state officials to breach sensitive country information and using it against the state. These are some of the most difficult data breaches, considering most of these officials have complex cyber security protocols.
Errors from hackers can compromise your system if you click on them. This includes losing sensitive information or inadvertent release
How Can Data Breaches Be Dangerous For You?
There are various methods in which data breaches can cost you financially. These include the following:
- A hacker may open new accounts under your info and make illegal transactions, leaving you liable for the loss.
- Access government benefits that you deserve using your social security number.
- Access your bank account and make withdrawals.
- Access your medical insurance and get treatment instead of you.
- Claim a tax return in your place.
- Sell it on the dark web.
A data breach is a serious concern for users around the world. It can compromise your finances and personal information. There is a wide variety of these data breaches that you should keep in mind. Breaches like ransomware, physical theft, and payment card skimming are the most common ones.
It is important to stay cautious of these data breaches, and ensure that you have sufficient cyber security against them. We suggest installing a good quality antivirus and paying attention to where you share your info to avoid data breaches.
If you have been majorly impacted by a corporate data breach, you can also consider consulting an identity theft attorney to see if you can recoup any losses.
List of Notable Corporate Data Breaches
- Facebook – April 3, 2021
- LinkedIn – April 2021 & June 22, 2021
- T-Mobile – August 16, 2021 & December 2021
- Yahoo – September 16, 2016 & December 16, 2016 & February 2017
- Equifax – May 2017
- Drizly – July 2020
- KOYAME-MARSH, R. O. & MARSH, J. L. 2014. Data breaches and identity theft: Costs and responses. IOSR Journal of Economics and Finance, 5, 36-45.
- PDPC 2021. Guide on Managing and Notifying Data Breaches Under the PDPA. Personal Data Protection Commission.
- NICVA 2019. Data Protection Toolkit – personal data breaches: Are you prepared? . NICVA.