Data Breaches ๐Ÿšจ

The 5 most common types of data breaches

Data is everywhere. Every time you click, tap, post, submit, purchase, comment or like, Another data point has created. With access to enough of these data points, you can paint a complete picture about a person.

Phone companies, departmental stores, hospitals, schools, libraries, and nearly every other place of public use or interest, store your personal data in databases. While this helps them to gain quick access to their community’s credentials and relevant insights, it makes large datasets especially vulnerable to hackers. There’s a lot of value both in the data on its own and in its connection to other databases!

And what happens when there’s a threat or breach in your database? That’s what we call a data breach: an unauthorized person or entity getting access to data without permission. Privacy Bee has a running list of the latest data breaches.

Data breaches have occurred hundreds of times per year in the last few years. They’ve compromised the data of billions of service customers, both online and offline. And as a consequence, the organizations facing these breaches have suffered losses worth tens of millions — and consumers are facing a rising tide of data breaches and identity theft too!

If you feel like data breaches occur merely due to organizational negligence, think again. Even as corporations like Apple and Microsoft step up their security, data thieves step up their game, too. Here are the five different types of data breaches to protect yourself against.

31% of data breach victims later have their identity stolen

#1: Physical security breaches

One of the most obvious kinds of data breaches is when your sensitive data is stolen directly. This occurs more often than you may imagine. Employees or even the executives sometimes demonstrate accidental carelessness that can cost billionsโ€™ worth of damage. 

There are different types of physical security breaches.

  • An employee may misplace a file with classified information.
  • Someone could steal a prototype sample and sell it to competitors in the industry.
  • A thief could break in and steal information from a business.
  • Even some of the most skilled people in your workforce may let their guard down and risk leaking data from essential files. For instance, by accidentally sending a sensitive file to someone outside the organization.
  • An employee might print something out and take it home with them — and leave it in the recycling or out at a coffee shop.
  • An disgruntled employee removes something from the premises with the intention of selling or otherwise using it.

Any of these scenarios, caused by human error and resulting in theft, are a part of typical data breaches. 

Here’s how to check if you were part of a data breach.

#2: Phishing attack

Have you seen those degenerate replicas of those popular websites and apps that have millions of users and customers? Phishing is when criminals set up websites, software, or apps that seem pretty genuine and reliable. They operate just like the ones we use and trust in daily life. They usually pretend to be a part of a company’s official website. Once the user is satisfied with the pretense, they ask for sensitive information such as credit card information, Social Security number, passwords to user’s accounts, etc.

Since they replicate the style, tone, and outlook of the original software, phishing works disturbingly well. And hackers love using brands that you trust and love to carry out their attacks. So be wary of all attachments and double check all links before clicking. And definitely don’t give up your personal information unless you’re certain that the request is legitimate!

#3: Password breaches

Guessing and stealing passwords of millions of users is one of the most frequent types of data breaches. It’s no secret that many people who employ passwords for their privacy don’t do a great job at keeping a strong password. 

Many people simply keep their date of birth, anniversaries, children’s names, pet names, or nicknames as their password. Cybercrime has advanced its tactics and can quickly generate a database of these passwords. This makes young kids and even adults vulnerable targets. When private personal information is at risk, you’re bound to lose your community in a blink of an eye.

#4: Keystrokes

Cybercriminals often gain access to your device keyboard and record all of its input — its keystrokes. By recording everything a person types on the device keyboard, the data hunters have access to most of what they’re looking for. Phone numbers, emails, bank details, and even high-security data sometimes cannot escape these attacks.

Gaining access to the keystrokes on one’s device, whether for professional or personal use, reveals a hoard of valuable information. Sometimes its enough to gain access to nearly all of a person’s online accounts! 

#5: Ransomware

Ransomware breaching is somewhat similar to kidnapping and holding a human as a hostage. Your device may get a message or notification stating that your account or system has been hacked, and your privacy is at risk. Hackers often change your password or email address to deny you access to the account. 

In order to retrieve your account and secure its data once again, the hackers usually ask for a handsome monetary exchange. The more valuable your stored information is, the more money will be demanded. Almost all companies who even remotely anticipate such a risk use protective software and programs to safeguard their data.

Related: What are data brokers?

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