5 Types of Data Breaches You Should Know About



A data breach is defined as an intentional or unconsenting release of confidential information to an unsafe environment. It is also oftentimes called a data spill or information leakage.

Data breaches occur physically when a cybercriminal infiltrates a data source and extracts sensitive information or when network security is remotely violated. The latter method is used to target companies.

With the proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT) organizations are at the risk of data breaches like never before and hence it is important for them to learn about the various types of data breaches.

Companies, on average, take more than 90 days to identify a data breach. So oftentimes by the time the breach is identified the damage is already done.

According to IBM, the average data breach in the U.S. costs $7.91 million.

The above figure gives a sneak peek of the damage a data breach can inflict on your business.

Learning about the types of data breaches, therefore, can be a smart move to protect your business from unprecedented monetary and reputation loss.

The following is a list of some of the major categories of data breaches, one should be familiar with:

1) Ransomware

Ransomware is malicious software, a type of malware from cryptovirology that threatens to publish the data of the victim or perpetually blocks access to it unless the demand for paying a fee is fulfilled for the proper functioning of the system again.

Ransomware often results in encrypting your data and you cannot access or read the data. The production is hampered and even paying the ransom might not resolve the situation.

In the year 2018, 45% of the companies in the U.S.A were hit by a ransomware attack, paid the ransom; however, only 26% of those companies managed to get their files unlocked.

According to Purplesec.us, the estimated cost of Ransomware attacks is expected to rise to $20 billion in 2020 from $11.5 billion in 2019. Moreover, the average cost of ransomware attacks on businesses remained $133,000.

Ransomware can be delivered through email, malicious websites, or through social media messages among other avenues. Even when the data is restored, ransomware potentially impacts sensitive data on affected machines, leading marketers to compromise upon the data. Ransomware can cause innumerable damages to your company & data privacy, and therefore is certainly amongst the types of data breaches that one should know about.

FBI has proposed some ways to protect your network from ransomware which includes the following:

  • One should immediately secure the backup data or systems by taking them offline
  • Law enforcement should be immediately contacted
  • The partial portions of the ransomed data that might exist must be collected and secured
  • All online account passwords and network passwords after removing the system from the network must be changed
  • The registry values and files should be deleted to stop the program from loading

2) Malware

Malware is a collective terminology for a number of malicious software variants including viruses, ransomware, and spyware, and is yet another name on our list of the types of data breaches.

It is a software designed intentionally to damage a computer, server, client, or computer network. The types of malware include computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, adware, rogue software, and scareware.

Google data substantiates that the number of malware sites detected per week continues to decline every year.

As of March 2020, Google detected around 600-800 malware-infected websites per week.

The goal of Malware is to steal information from your computer somehow. Viruses can spread between the computers on your network.

According to Verizon’s Breach Investigation Report of 2018, 92% of Malware is delivered by email.

Malware can cause months or years of damage before they can be detected.

3) Phishing

Phishing is amongst the most common forms of email malware and amongst the foremost types of data breaches, worth mentioning. It is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information or data including usernames and passwords, credit card numbers, etc. by befooling people and showcasing oneself as a trustworthy resource or entity via electronic communication.

The attacker often sends an email that seems to come from a trusted source.

According to the Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) by Verizon, 70% of cyber attacks use a combination of phishing and hacking.

You might seem to get emails from someone like an Apple or UPS. When the recipient clicks a link or downloads an attachment, they might unintentionally download a virus onto their system.

Some of the phishing emails may be highly targeted and may seem to come from companies’ leaderships, in a way that may be highly impossible to recognize for the employees.

To avoid being victims of phishing emails the organization needs to train its employees and have stringent IT policies to deal with any form of phishing.

4) Denial of Service (DoS)

This is a type of cyberattack where the perpetrators seek making a machine or network resource unavailable to the intended users by indefinitely or temporarily disrupting the services of a host secured to the Internet.

DoS attack is designed to shut down a machine or network making it basically inaccessible.

Attackers accomplish DoS in the following ways:

  • First is a flood attack where attackers flood the target with more traffic than the server can handle, even causing the server to slow down and stop
  • Hackers exploit vulnerabilities causing a system to crash
  • The goal is not to steal information but to lock legitimate users such as employees or customers out of a system
  • Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks can cause more intensive damage since the target is being attacked by multiple systems at multiple locations
According to 2017 data from the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) the total number of DDoS attacks across the globe is expected to double to 14.5 million by the year 2022.

Thus, DDoS is a type of cyberattack that has been causing massive amounts of damage and costs to businesses across the globe.

5) Other Major Categories of Cyber Attacks

Besides the major categories of cyber attacks described above hackers use:

  • Social engineering, skimming, and related techniques to gain access to vital information.
  • Sometimes data storage devices such as laptops, smartphones thumb devices, and other data storage media can be lost, stolen, or disposed of improperly. If data ends up in the wrong hand it leads to a data breach.
  • Sometimes employees with ill-intent can access protected information without authorization with bad intentions.
  • Sometimes human errors also lead to data breaches. Proprietary data can be accidentally sent to the wrong person by the employees. Data may be uploaded to public shares or misconfigured servers where it is stored, thereby leading to the breaches.

Wrapping Things Up

Ransomware continues to be a major problem for organizations across the globe. They need to devote considerable time and resources to prevent infections or build a resiliency model to prevent themselves from falling prey to the Ransomware attack. There are many good reasons for cybersecurity to be a top priority for organizations.

Cyberattacks have multiplied at a rapid rate to reach alarmingly high levels in the current scenario and the mismanaged state of permissions has become the norm of the day.

Ransomware is easy to produce, difficult to defend against and a criminal offense. Having ample knowledge about the major types of Ransomware will help organizations of all sizes better prepare themselves against all types of threats to safeguard their user’s data from encryption.

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