Security breaches are becoming an alarming concern in every organization. According to a report, it is estimated that cybercrime will cost $10.5 trillion globally by 2025, increasing by almost 15% yearly. 

It is needless to say that a data breach creates havoc as the privacy of millions of customers is compromised. Along with businesses, the impact of a data breach on individuals is massive. 

The alarming thing is that cybercrime is becoming more sophisticated as hackers are adopting new technologies and techniques for breaching security measures. 

What Is a Security Breach?

A security breach or data breach is defined as the exposure of protected, confidential, and protected information to some unauthorised person. In a data breach, important files are shared without permission. 

It has been noticed that security breaches take place when there is weakness in user behaviour or the technology used. With more connective features, data is slipping through various channels, sometimes without our knowledge. 

How Do Security Breaches Happen?

It is a common notion that an outsider hacker causes security breaches, but it is not always the case. Sometimes, these are insider jobs along with flaws in the infrastructure of the organisation. 

It is difficult to say which of the following is the leading cause of data breaches. The 4 common causes of data breaches include:

  • Malicious insider – It might be the job of a malicious insider to access and share confidential data of a company with the intent of causing harm. The insider might have legitimate authorisation to access the data, but the intent is nefarious. 
  • Malicious external criminals – These external criminals are hackers who are well adept in various attacking vectors for gathering confidential information from an individual or network. 
  • Stolen or lost devices – One of the common sources of security breaches is lost or stolen devices. An unlocked and unencrypted computer/laptop, an external hard drive, or a pen drive containing sensitive information that gets stolen or goes missing might cause a data breach.
  • An accidental insider – Suppose an employee is accessing a colleague’s computer and reading files without required authorisation permissions. Though this is unintentional access, there are chances of information sharing from here. 

Different Types of Security Breaches

Did you know that the majority of companies are not immune to data breaches? Mentioned below find 10 types of security breaches:

  1. Ransomware – In this kind of security breach, you will suddenly get a message that your system is hacked. The criminal charges a ransom for releasing the system from not going public. The amount of the ransom can be a few hundred dollars to millions of dollars. 
  2. Recording keystrokes – Cybercriminals or hackers can email or insert malware called keyloggers in your system. This malware records everything that you are typing on your system including passwords, credit card numbers, pins, and other sensitive information. This data gets passed back to the criminals and they can access all sensitive data. 
  3. Malware or virus – With malware or virus, hackers can wipe all the available data on a system. Many companies are data-driven. Loss of the data will be detrimental to them, causing huge losses. 
  4. Stolen information – Stolen information can lead to the loss of millions of dollars. It is not uncommon for employees to leave a file, a phone, or even a computer unattended. You never know who can steal valuable information from the system even in a short period. 
  5. Phishing – Third-party hackers carry out phishing attacks by creating websites that look almost like the original. They mainly target websites that need logging in by the user. Once the user falls prey and types the login credentials, the hacker has access to all required information. 
  6. Password guessing – Many companies keep passwords accessible in various locations on the system so that employees can use them when needed. But many employees meddle with the information leading to a data breach. 

With the password stolen, miscreants have access to sensitive data from your system.

Distributed denial of services (DDoS) – Mainly large organizations face this security breach. In the denial of services attack, employees will not be able to sign in to the system for work. 

Though there is no data loss, in this case, the company might need to close to solve the data breach issue. 

Cross-site scripting attack – In a cross-site scripting attack, hackers inject malicious scripts into web apps or websites. This attack is a complicated process. 

When the victim visits the website, the network will translate the website with the attacker’s HTML. 

The purpose of this attack is to collect network information, capture screenshots, steal cookies, log keystrokes, and access the victim’s device remotely. 

  1. Eavesdrop attack – This kind of security breach is done by intercepting network traffic. The hacker closely monitors the user’s behaviour on the network and tracks information like passwords, credit card numbers, and other sensitive and valuable information. 
  2. Man-in-the-middle attack – Man-in-the-middle is a very difficult security breach to understand. It creates a bad sector and then infiltrates your system. Hackers begin by compromising on the customer’s system for launching an attack on the system. 

How to avoid data breaches?

Now that you know about the different types of data breaches and how they happen, you must learn how to deal with security breaches

Mentioned below are 8 ways to prevent data breaches:

  1. Securing the devices – Many employees receive phones and laptops from the company. However, when the employee is not on an internal network, the system is at risk. Secure the laptops, tablets, USB drives, and smartphones through tracking, identification, and encryption. 
  2. Creating transparent policies for device and data disposal – If there are proper policies for electronic and physical data disposal, sensitive data will be protected. For instance, confidential paper records should be shredded. If electronic devices are to be disposed of, all data should be wiped off. In case of a loss of a device, it should be properly informed. 
  3. Securing physical space – It is very important to implement security measures for protecting devices and data in the office space. 
  4. Protecting the network – One of the critical components of protecting data breaches is protecting the network. Try various ways of protecting your network like VPNs, encrypted communications, vulnerability scans, firewalls, penetration testing, etc.
  5. Training employees on data security – If you don’t have an idea of how are data breaches discovered, you will not be able to address the problem. Therefore, it is important to train your employees on data security and let them know of the potential threats and the following consequences.
  6. Limiting visitor and vendor network access – It is a great step to set up a Wi-Fi connection for guests and vendors only. They will have a restricted internet connection with no access to cloud resources, servers, or any sensitive information.
  7. Putting employees to a security test – It is highly recommended to take security tests of your employees once in a while to understand if they know and follow the security protocols closely.
  8. Inventory the data locations – You must have a clear inventory of your sensitive data location. There is data everywhere – in files, on servers, in the cloud, on laptops, and even on rough pieces of paper. Understand and limit the places where you have sensitive data. 


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Also Read: Top Reasons Why Cybersecurity is a Good Investment