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Data Breach

A data breach occurs when confidential, private or sensitive information falls into unsecured hands. It can be the result of a deliberate attack or an accidental misstep. Whether the data is stolen from hackers, compromised by employees or exposed on the internet, it can threaten people’s privacy and lead to costly fines, settlements, legal fees and credit monitoring for victims.

A few of the main types of data breaches are:

Lack of encryption – if a website or web app isn’t using SSL/TLS encryption, anyone can monitor transmissions and see personal or financial information in plain text. This is the most common cause of a data breach.

Misconfigured servers and websites – when a site or server is set up incorrectly, it can expose confidential information to everyone with an internet connection. This is how cybercriminals often find personal or financial information, including passwords that can be used to access other services like email or social media accounts.

Unsecured devices – When employees leave devices with personal or financial information at home or in the office, it can put it in the wrong hands. This is how the Equifax data breach happened, and it’s why you should always require 2-factor authentication.

Breach notifications – When a breach happens, it’s important to notify affected individuals as soon as possible. The exact way you do this will depend on your business structure and how the breach happened. For example, some companies post updates on their website so consumers can go to one place for the latest information. Others call or email affected consumers.