What is a Data Breach?
A data breach is a security violation in which sensitive, protected or confidential data is copied, transmitted, viewed, stolen, altered or used by an individual unauthorized to do so. Depending on the type of data leaked, this can include personal information such as names, addresses, passwords, credit card details and medical histories.
In the United States, Equifax suffered a major data breach in 2017 where malicious parties stole private records from the company’s servers of nearly 150 million Americans and about 15 million British citizens. This led to legal settlements from affected customers, state governments and credit card companies.
Biggest Data Breaches
The top ten list of data breaches is an unflattering one to be on. Not only are these breaches devastating for the businesses and organizations that suffer them, but they can be extremely damaging to everyone whose personal data was involved in the hacking.
Causes of Data Breach
The most common causes of data breaches involve:
Research – a cybercriminal conducts a series of research activities to discover weaknesses in the company’s security. They may look for a system vulnerability, a weak password, or an employee with access to confidential information.
Attack – the cybercriminal uses a malware or spyware program to gain unauthorized access to a computer system. This may result in the theft of data or even the installation of a backdoor that can allow for a full-scale cyberattack.
Regardless of the specific reason for a data breach, it is important to follow strict security procedures as soon as possible after finding out about it. This will help prevent the recurrence of the breach and reduce the risks to users.