What is a Data Breach?
A data breach is the loss, theft or exposure of sensitive or protected information to unauthorized individuals. This can include cybercriminals, hackers or even company insiders. The data could be anything from stolen login credentials to corporate intellectual property such as product designs, research or source code. The damage caused by a Data Breach is often irreparable. It can lead to fines, lawsuits and financial losses for the company, as well as identity theft for consumers.
How is a Data Breach committed?
A Data Breach occurs when sensitive or confidential information is copied, transmitted, viewed, stolen or altered by an individual unauthorized to do so. It can be done through a variety of methods, including stealing an employee’s personal device with company data, purchasing password-protected software on the dark web, hacking into network systems using malware like spyware (which records keystrokes and sends them to a remote server), physically breaking into company offices for paper documents and hard drives, or placing skimming devices on card readers in order to steal credit and debit card numbers.
Once the hackers have the data, they will do whatever they want with it. This may be to sell it on the black market, use it for financial gain or simply destroy it. They can also share the data with others by releasing it on social media or through a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS), which floods the victim’s system and website, preventing legitimate users from accessing the site.