In cybersecurity, data breaches are a security incident in which confidential, sensitive or protected data is stolen, transmitted, copied or used by an unauthorized person to make an illegal activity. Data breaches can consist of financial detail such as credit card details or bank accounts, Personally identifiable information (PII), personal health information (PHI) trade secrets of corporations or intellectual property. Most data breaches contain stolen and vulnerable unstructured forms of data – files, folders, and very sensitive details. A data breach is the unintentional releasing of sensitive information to an unauthorized environment. Other terms for this fact include releasing of unintentional detail, data leak and also data wastage. Incidents range from the intentional attacks by black hats hackers with the backing of planned crime or international governments to the disposal of 2nd hand computer equipment or data storage parts.
If your personal information or account details are stolen in a data breach, you may face blackmailing issues or debt collectors may find you to charge you for costs you are unaware of. Identity disclosure can make your credit rating go down and lead to a loss of employment. If an unauthorized person uses your identity during a criminal case, you may be arrested for their alleged crimes. Recovery of such data breaches are often a time-consuming and expensive task.
In 2014, black hat hackers stole sensitive information associated with Yahoo!, the database had at least 500 million user details. This news was a secret for 2 years then on September 22, 2016, this breach was disclosed by Yahoo. The data breach is the biggest discovered in the history of the cyber Internet. Most sensitive details of users taken include names, mobile numbers, security questions and answers, dates of birth, and the most important thing… passwords.
- COMELEC website of the Philippines was illegally accessed in March 2016, by hacktivist group, “Anonymous Philippines”. A larger problem arose when a hackers group called LulsZec Pilipinas uploaded COMELEC’s complete database on famous social media site Facebook.
- In October 2015, TalkTalk, the British telecommunications provider had their data breached when a group of young 15-year-old hackers stole details of around 4 million people. The stock price of the company fell immediately.
- Ashley Madison, an adult website suffered a data breach when a black hacker group stole details of 37 million users in July 2015. The hackers promised to reveal names and specifics if Ashley Madison and a fellow site did not shut down their sites permanently.
- Anthem suffered a data breach for 80 million users in February 2015, which included sensitive details such as names, email address SSN, DOB, and other details.
- In June 2015, The U.S. government office of Personnel Management had their data breached in which the details of 4 million Govt employees of the United States of America were hacked and stolen.