What is a Data Breach?
Data Breach is a security violation in which sensitive or protected information is copied, transmitted, viewed, stolen or altered by an individual that is not authorized to do so. This includes the accidental or malicious disclosure of personal information such as email addresses, names, contact details, passwords, social media profiles and financial details. It also refers to the unauthorised access or theft of systems and the unauthorized exposure of sensitive information including intellectual property, medical records and business data.
Attackers may steal employees’ work or personal devices, break into offices to steal paper documents and physical hard drives or install skimming devices on point-of-sale machines to collect payment card information. They can then use the data to steal money or commit identity theft by using stolen PII to file tax returns, apply for bank loans and sign up for new accounts.
Hackers can crack a password by running through all the possibilities (including the dictionary, combinations of letters, numbers and symbols) until they guess correctly or hijack other devices like yours via malware infections to speed up the process. They can then use those credentials on dozens of other websites and services to gain access to your account and make fraudulent transactions.
Data breaches can also expose highly confidential information about the business and its customers to foreign parties such as details of military operations, political dealings and essential national infrastructure. A breach can have lasting effects on your reputation and finances.