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Data Breach

A data breach happens when sensitive, confidential information is exposed or stolen in an unauthorized manner. It can include any kind of private information, from credit card numbers and social security numbers to health records and trade secrets. Data breaches happen across all industries, from small businesses to large financial institutions and government agencies.

Hackers can get their hands on personal information in a number of ways, including cloud misconfigurations, stolen equipment, lost or forgotten passwords and malware. A common strategy is to trick employees into clicking on a link or downloading malicious software that exposes confidential data or holds a company’s system hostage.

The cost of a data breach can be staggering. According to the 2022 Verizon report, organizations that apply high levels of artificial intelligence and automation (SIEM, UEBA, EDR and XDR) for threat detection and response have an average data breach cost that is 55.3 percent lower than those using low-level tools.

Examples of major data breaches include the 2013 attack against Yahoo, which left the email addresses, birthdates, and other personal information of 3 billion users vulnerable. The same year, Target suffered a massive cyber-attack that affected the company’s website and physical point-of-sale devices. The attack was attributed to the group Guardians of Peace, believed to have ties to North Korea.

To prevent these incidents, companies need to train employees on recognizing social engineering attacks and create policies for handling a data breach. They also need to implement and test contingency plans so they can quickly respond if a breach does occur.