7 Most common types of data breaches and how they affect your business

by | Jan 10, 2024 | Cyber Security | 0 comments

7 Most common types of data breaches and how they affect your business

Before we get into the types of data breaches, we need to ask the question – what is a data breach? The definition of a data breach is when an unauthorized person gains access to your data or network. This “hacker” can then delete or share your personal or company data.

​​What are the risks of a data security breach? The implications of a breach of data depend mainly on the type of data hacked. For example, types of data breaches in healthcare might risk thousands of patient files and can even put their lives at risk. Different types of personal data breaches can provide hackers with a detailed profile of your personal data. From where you live, work, and travel, to your social security and bank account information. Consider everything about you that exists virtually.

What types of security breaches exist? We have followed the trends and statistics on data breaches in 2020 and data breaches in 2021 to help you protect your company’s data. The 7 most common types of data breaches listed below will give you a good idea as to how to prevent data leaks and cyber security breaches.

Common Types of Data Breaches

1. Password Guessing

It may surprise you to know that one of the most common types of data breaches is perhaps the simplest one: guessing. Unfortunately, many people don’t get too creative in making their passwords, making them easy to guess. And what’s even worse is that most people use the same password or variations of the same password across all of their accounts. This means that if a hacker can guess just one of your passwords, they can gain access to almost all of your virtual information.

Have I Been Pwned, a resource that checks accounts for signs of data breaches lists the most commonly used passwords.

  1. 123456
  2. 123456789
  3. qwerty
  4. password
  5. 111111
  6. 12345678
  7. abc123
  8. password1
  9. 1234567
  10. 12345

2. Phishing

Phishing attacks typically involve an email set up to appear as though it is from a trusted source, for example, an account you already have. The hacker will request personal information or action, such as clicking a link or downloading an attachment. The Internet Crime Complaint Center reported that phishing crimes (the top reported crime) over doubled from 2019 to 2020.

The 10 most frequently-used subject lines in attacks are:

  • Request
  • Follow up
  • Urgent/Important
  • Are you available?/Are you at your desk?
  • Payment Status
  • Hello
  • Purchase
  • Invoice Due
  • Re:
  • Direct Deposit
  • Expenses
  • Payroll

3. Malware

This is an umbrella term for many different types of computer viruses that can wipe entire computer systems. These viruses threaten companies with deleting any and all data that they may rely on.

The main way to prevent a malware attack is simply to be careful to not open anything that you are not sure of the source.

4. Denial-of-Service Attack

A Denial-of-Service Attack (DoS) involves flooding a network with traffic to the point of overloading it. While data is not stolen or deleted, this attack forces a company to shut down until they are able to identify the breach. However, DoS attacks may serve as a distraction while other attacks take place.

DoS attacks typically target large companies, since they take a lot of coordination and are most often a form of protest.

5. Physical Types of Data Breaches

20% of cybersecurity incidents in 2019 started or finished with a physical action (ENISA Threat Landscape 2020 – Physical Threats).

Many companies ignore this type of threat in considering their cyber security, but it is far more common than people think.

65% of employees said they behaved in ways or adopted practices that may risk physical security. This type of attack starts with simple mistakes such as leaving a prototype out or writing down a password.

6.  Keystrokes

A keystrokes attack occurs when a hacker gains access to your keyboard activity – your keystrokes. In doing so, they gain access to everything you type; credit cards, passwords, phone numbers, personal information, etc.

Typically, this attack comes as a form of malware and can threaten your personal or company computers.

7.  Ransomware

A ransomware attack is very similar to kidnapping or holding a hostage. The hacker will send a message to the victim, demanding money in exchange for not publicizing or deleting their data.

The Harris Poll found that 20% of Americans have fallen victim to ransomware attacks.

Not only do these types of data breaches threaten data privacy, but they also force a company to shut down while addressing the security breach. The average downtime increased at the end of 2020, going from 19 days in Q3 to 21 days in Q4 (Coveware’s Q4 2020 Ransomware Marketplace report).

How to Protect My Company from Common Types of Data Breaches?

So, how do you prevent data breaches? While there is no perfect method of protection, staying familiar with the most common types of data breaches is a good way to start.

You can also begin implementing standard practices to improve cybersecurity. Have employees regularly update passwords and train staff to recognize phishing scams.

Most importantly though, have a dedicated company data breach response team. Having an incident response team at the ready can reduce the average cost of a breach by $2 million (IBM 2020 Cost of a Data Breach Report). This team can also help you with cloud-backup services that keep your data safe for when cyber security breaches do occur.
Contact Elevated Technologies experts today to learn more about our tips and resources for protecting your data!

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