These are the most common types of data breaches

Data breaches are daunting. However, with the amount of information people share on the Internet, it’s no wonder they have become quite common. The risk of being the victim of a data breach is on the rise for both individuals and businesses.

What is a data breach?

A data breach happens when a cybercriminal gains access to digital data. For example, hackers often target companies with poorly secured gateway devices. Suppose during a cyber-attack, clients’ or employees’ personal information is compromised. In that case, the business can face regulatory fines or even a lawsuit related to how they failed to protect the data.

When someone wants to gain access to a product or service, they must create an account or authenticate themselves in an account they previously created. Cybercriminals use stolen authentication details during data breaches to access the user’s information. When someone logs in to a system without permission, they are accessing sensitive data unauthorizedly.

The consequences of a data breach often come as loss of control of information, seizure of sensitive data, or data erasing. This article sheds some light on the most common data breaches to make them more visible to the public and help the public protect themselves from becoming victims.


When you are the victim of a ransomware attack, a malicious entity gets a hold of your computer data, locks you out of your accounts, and demands payment to restore your system. While individuals can also be victims of ransomware attacks, big companies and public institutions are usually targeted.

When the victim defies the attacker’s requests, they risk losing crucial data to malicious agents or getting their private information released in public. Unfortunately, no one can guarantee that if the payment is promptly delivered, the cybercriminals will restore the sensitive data and not use it in the future. Ransomware attacks usually trigger reputational and financial damages and could result in regulatory intervention from the authorities.

Stolen information

Most people will say that it’s ridiculous to assume that they’re at fault that hackers get a hold of their sensitive information. But the truth is that people often make mistakes that could cost them even millions of dollars if they run a company and store sensitive client information.

Even renowned companies like Apple have become victims of data breaches when one of their employees wrote their login credentials on paper and left it around or carelessly handled prototype information. In such situations, when the clients suffer due to an employee mistake, the company is liable and has to pay compensation. At the link, you’ll find more information about the process. It takes a couple of hours for sensitive information to be released over the Internet.

Employees leaving their files, smartphones, or computers somewhere unguarded and having them stolen is quite common.

Password guessing

This is another simple trick cybercriminals do to steal sensitive information. People cannot even imagine how much damage a stolen password could cause. And while many hope their passwords are strong and secret, hackers are masters when it comes to guessing their combination.

Many individuals are hacked because their passwords are guessable or too easy. They include personal information, which is easy to find on their social media pages to create passwords. Cybersecurity experts state that these data breaches, often called brute-force attacks, are more common than many think. People usually use their name, birth date, pet’s name, name of their street or town, or other similar information as passwords, which makes it relatively easy for cybercriminals to hack their accounts.

Statistics show that weak passwords cause over 30% of the overall number of security breaches. Cybercriminals have developed numerous effective strategies to crack even complex passwords, and as long as they contain information about the user, they’re quite easy to guess.


Phishing is defined as a social engineering data breach that targets the victim’s text messages or emails to trick them into clicking on a link, downloading malware, or providing sensitive information. Cybercriminals usually impersonate a legitimate organization like an employer or a bank, and try to create a sense of urgency through the situation they describe in the email.

A successful hack will lock the user’s accounts and give the malicious entity enough time to take advantage of the information. This vulnerability usually results from a human factor because people neglect to verify the information when they identify a sense of urgency tied to it.

Phishing could also come in the form of a website that looks genuine and mirrors an address people visit often. They log into their accounts without noticing they are on a copy and give the hackers their passwords. The scheme works great with students. Hackers impersonate their schools and ask them to confirm their login information so they can use an educational account.

Recording keystrokes

Hackers can email or insert in a message malware named keyloggers, which record everything you’re typing. All the information is passed to the cybercriminals’ computers, and they use it to breach your accounts and steal sensitive information. Personal and work devices could be targeted, so monitoring suspicious links is best.

When you download keyloggers onto your devices, they record everything you’re typing, even when the characters don’t appear on your screen. Cybercriminals can quickly gather sensitive information like credit card numbers, passwords, health data, and any other information that could help them access your accounts.

Distributed Denial of Service

This kind of attack usually targets businesses and is used to protect against some of their activities. The hackers consider themselves vigilantes and want to stop companies; operations to limit the harm they do through their actions.

The distributed denial of service attack is launched from multiple sources simultaneously, making it impossible for anyone to log into the system. This kind of attack doesn’t steal data but causes the company to shut down for a period and lose money.

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