Five Types of Data Breaches

Five Types of Data Breaches

There are several types of data breaches. Some of these are more widespread than others, such as hacking. There are also ways to protect your company from these types of attacks. However, these methods cannot entirely prevent all data breaches. It would be best to implement strong password guidelines, two-factor authentication, and password updates to protect your company’s sensitive data. This article explains the five data breaches including hacking, application whitelisting, malware and ransomware, and insider threats.



Hacking is malicious software to gain access to data or steal it from a company. Almost six out of ten of all data breaches are caused by hacking. Other common ways for hackers to obtain data include phishing emails and ransomware. According to the ITRC’s annual CyberScout report, phishing attacks accounted for nearly half of reported data breaches. Moreover, phishing attacks rose by 17.7 percent from 2015 figures.

Computer attacks can be quite sophisticated, utilizing weaknesses in software. These vulnerabilities often result from human error. Most software is designed to have one purpose but may behave differently when used for another purpose. Hackers take advantage of these inconsistencies and use them to their advantage. One of the oldest hacks to obtain data is called SQL injection. This exploit allows hackers to read inaccessible data or trick the system into optimizing execution speed.

Application whitelisting

There are two key ways to implement application whitelisting. First, separate your application whitelist into categories and determine which applications are crucial to your company. For example, a core category should list applications used across the entire organization, while a departmental whitelist should include only applications used by a particular department. Each department should also have a separate whitelist, as the needs of different departments can vary. Next, identify which tasks need to be performed by which applications. In addition, application whitelisting helps protect critical servers and applications from zero-day attacks. These security measures prevent the execution of unauthorized applications that target your network. While this approach is restrictive, it is essential for preventing three types of data breaches. For instance, it prevents zero-day attacks and other types of malware. Since the risks associated with unknown malware are high, whitelisting protects your most critical systems and applications.

Malicious software

The most common types of malware are viruses and spyware. While some preventative measures can mitigate malware attacks, most victims aren’t protected against all of them. While security policies and awareness training are good starting points, no system is completely free of vulnerabilities, and threat actors will always find a way inside. In addition, malicious software poses a serious risk to the data on your computers, devices, and people.

Malware can infect your computer by installing itself onto your hard drive or navigating hacked websites. Malicious software is also called ransomware. Infected software can also be downloaded from unknown sites or opened via email attachments. Malicious apps frequently masquerade as legitimate apps, direct links, or software. They may request personal information or access confidential data, putting your security at risk.

Insider threats

One of the most common types of data breaches is an insider threat. Unfortunately, these attacks often go undetected, and they can continue for years without being detected. For example, Desjardins, a Canadian finance firm, suffered from a similar breach in which users copied customer data to a shared drive. A malicious insider then continued to copy that data for two years before it was discovered. Eventually, the breach was publicly revealed, resulting in 9.7 million customer records being disclosed. As a result, Desjardins spent $108 million to remedy the breach.

One way to combat insider threats is to educate employees on their dangers. The Federal Trade Commission offers a guide to data breach response, and the Identity Management Institute has a web page about insider threats. The FBI also provides an online brochure on insider threats. Insiders are among the most dangerous threats to data breaches. A data breach can cost millions of dollars and cause irreversible damage. In addition to stealing confidential data, insiders can access sensitive information through unapproved means.


Data breaches occur when hackers steal or access personal data. There are several types of data breaches, each with its specific definition. For example, a data breach can be defined as “unauthorized third-party access to, or misrepresentation of, personal information.” Other data breaches occur when computing devices containing sensitive information are lost or stolen. In some cases, ransomware is responsible for both.

Data breaches are not only damaging for victims but also for businesses. A Ponemon study estimates the average cost of a data breach at $3.9 million and $148 per record. The number of websites compromised each month is estimated at around 4,800. According to Ponemon, one in every four companies will experience a data breach. Moreover, these breaches are becoming increasingly difficult to detect, making proper response all the more important.

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