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7 Most Common Types of Data Breaches That Can Affect Your Business


Data breaches occur when an unauthorized person or program accesses your network or system. Once inside your system, the intruder can steal data, plant viruses, or tamper with the software. Data breaches can have a devastating effect on your business. They can lead to the loss of customers, revenue, and even your reputation.

Here is a list of the 7 most common types of data breaches to look out for.


In a ransomware attack, a malicious agent gains access to a user's PC data, locks the user out, and demands a payment to restore the rights. Big enterprises, health care and educational institutions, and individuals often fall victims to ransomware attacks. 

Organizations that defy the attackers run the risk of losing crucial data to rivals or finding sensitive information getting released in public. However, there is no guarantee that prompt payment will result in the restoration of data. Such data breaches can lead to monetary and reputational damages and may even draw regulatory intervention.


Malware is software that allows a hacker to infiltrate an environment and execute any behaviour they want. Malware is typically delivered over a network. One of the most common attack vectors for malware delivery is phishing. It involves social engineering tricks to lure the unsuspecting into downloading a malicious file or parting with sensitive information.

Password Guessing

Hackers use password attacks, brute-force, or dictionaries to guess the user credentials to gain fraudulent access and effect data breaches. According to a survey, passwords cause 30% of security breaches. Over the years, hackers have evolved several measures to guess passwords. The brute force approach is a popular method among hackers to crack passwords. It involves trying out thousands of password permutations until they find the right one.


Phishing is a social engineering attack in which the attacker uses email or text messages to trick the user into downloading malware, clicking on malicious links, or parting with sensitive information. The attacker typically impersonates a legitimate entity like your boss or bank and tries to create a sense of urgency to get you to act quickly. Your accounts may get locked after a successful hack, giving the hackers ample time to do anything they want with the information. As this vulnerability is the result of the human factor rather than the technological element, this form of attack is extremely challenging to fight against.

Insider Threat

According to a study, 60% of data breaches are caused by malicious or negligent insiders. These insiders typically have authorized access to the systems and can misuse their privileges to commit fraud or theft. In some cases, the insider may not be aware that they are breaching security protocols. For instance, they may use their work laptop for personal purposes and end up downloading malware. In other cases, rivals may win over an employee and persuade them to reveal insider information in exchange for rewards.

Physical Data Breach

Physical action data breach, often known as "old school data breach," occurs when a laptop, smartphone, tablet, or other device containing sensitive information is taken (stolen). This form of attack poses a serious concern as businesses promote omnipresence and mobile working among their staff. Slight carelessness on the part of employees can put sensitive resources into the hands of hackers with disastrous results.

Denial Of Service

A denial-of-service (DoS) attack attempts to take down a network or service by overloading it with traffic until it becomes unmanageable. A network is brought down by a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) assault, which takes control of devices (typically by employing botnets). DDoS attacks are frequently employed to cause chaos on the victim's end and interfere with corporate activities; nevertheless, they do not by themselves constitute a data breach. DDoS assaults, however, can provide cover for covert attacks that are happening elsewhere.

Final thoughts

While these are the most common causes of data breaches, they aren't the only ones. New types of malware and attacks are being created every day, so it's important to stay up-to-date on the latest cybersecurity threats. The best way to protect your business is to have a comprehensive security strategy in place that includes robust data backup and disaster recovery solutions.

For more information on data breaches and how to prevent them, consider a comprehensive penetration test to identify all possible vulnerabilities.

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