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Data Breach

Data Breach

A data breach is a security incident in which confidential information is copied, transmitted, viewed or stolen by someone unauthorized to do so. Also known as a security incident or a privacy violation, data breaches can cause financial, reputational and regulatory harm to businesses and individuals.

There are a variety of reasons that businesses suffer a data breach. Some are malicious, such as a cyber attack from a state-sponsored actor or an attack on the infrastructure of a public utility. Others are a result of unintentional actions by employees or misconfigured IT systems and servers.

For example, a textile company might accidentally disclose an employee’s personal data, such as family composition, salary and medical claims, via a non-encrypted email or by transmitting that data over unsecured internet connections. This can leave that information vulnerable to anyone with an Internet connection, not just hackers.

Other causes of a data breach can include password reuse across multiple online services or weakly-protected software on a computer or mobile device. Hackers often use malware tools to automate brute force attacks that work through all the possible variations of a password until they get one that works.

Criminals may also steal business secrets and sell them to competitors or on the Dark Web. They can steal personal information, such as Social Security numbers or credit card account numbers and then use it to apply for loans and open fraudulent accounts.