Facet Blog

6 Common Types of Data Breaches (And How to Stay Safe From Them)

January 17, 2024

The internet has the power to connect us with the world around us, whether it’s across the globe or just across the street. With more and more people turning to the internet to find information, work, and shop, the potential for data breaches also grows.

Data from IBM shows that the average cost of a data breach in 2023 amounted to $4.45 million, representing a 15% increase from 2020. There are several different types of data breaches you need to be aware of. Knowing what to look for or expect can help you better protect yourself from a potential data breach.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at 6 of the most common types of data breaches below. 

1. Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks typically involve deceptive attempts, often through emails or messages. They may use a false identity or a fake link to trick individuals into entering sensitive information such as passwords, credit card numbers, or personal details. Once this information is obtained, it can result in identity theft, financial fraud, and even the exposure of private business data.

In business settings especially, it is essential to provide comprehensive training on recognizing phishing attempts. For example, it is possible to hover over links without clicking to preview the destination URL. You can also utilize email filtering services to keep phishing attempts at bay. 

Train employees not to enter sensitive information unless they’re sure of the request’s authenticity. Teaching employees the importance of verifying email senders and avoiding clicking on suspicious links or downloading attachments can prevent these types of data breaches from the get-go.

2. Malware Infections

Malware, short for malicious software, refers to any software specifically designed to harm or exploit computer systems, users, and networks. Once the malware infection takes hold, it can carry out a range of malicious activities, such as stealing sensitive information, disrupting operations, or providing unauthorized access to attackers.

A malware infection can result from several different causes, such as: 

  • Malware coded advertisements
  • Software vulnerabilities
  • Infected external devices
  • Compromised email attachments and links
  • Malicious websites

Malware infections are one of the most common types of data breaches behind phishing attacks. To stay on top of malware infections, install and regularly update antivirus and anti-malware software on all your devices. This can help prevent a malware infection due to accidental downloads or unsafe browsing habits. 

3.  Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware, as the name implies, involves encrypting a user’s files or entire system. The ransomer then demands a payment in exchange for the decryption key. 2023 saw a 37% increase in ransomware attacks with an average ransom payment far exceeding $100,000.

Ransomware can effectively cripple a business by making crucial files inaccessible. Government, healthcare, financial, and technology industries are the most likely to get hit by these types of security breaches.

If your company is hit by ransomware, it can be a costly endeavor to get your business data back. There’s also no guarantee that once the money is paid, the ransomer will actually make good on their promise.

To protect your company from ransomware attacks, regularly back up critical business data to offline or secure cloud storage. In the event of a ransomware attack, you will be able to restore your information without resorting to paying the ransom.

You should also install robust cybersecurity software solutions that include anti-ransomware features. Keep all of your cybersecurity software, including security tools, up to date to stay on top of ransomware attacks. 

4. Physical Security Breaches

Physical security breaches involve unauthorized access to an office or building space. This can result in damage and compromised physical assets, facilities, or information.

These types of data breaches occur when individuals or entities like former employees gain improper entry to restricted areas. They may steal physical devices containing sensitive information or engage in activities that compromise the security of physical spaces.

Examples of physical security breaches can include the theft of laptops and unauthorized access to secure rooms. It may also involve vandalism that can affect the integrity of physical security measures.

Always make certain to safeguard any physical devices containing sensitive data. Use encryption and implement security measures like biometric access to prevent unauthorized physical access.

5. DDoS Attacks

DDoS stands for Distributed Denial of Service. The primary purpose of DDoS attacks is to overwhelm a website or an online service with too much fake internet traffic.

DDoS attacks use a large number of computers working together to flood a website or service, causing disruption. This serves to slow it down or render it completely unavailable to regular site visitors. 

To combat DDoS attacks, invest in and employ DDoS mitigation tools. This will help you maintain a resilient network infrastructure. Monitor your traffic patterns for any unusual activity.

Design your network infrastructure with redundancy to minimize the impact of potential DDoS attacks.

6. Human Error 

Believe it or not, one of the most common types of data breaches occurs because of human error. According to a Stanford University study titled The Psychology of Human Error, as much as 88% of data breaches are the result of human error.

A simple mistake like falling for a fake link in a phishing email can seem innocent, but it can have drastic repercussions. In a matter of seconds, a malware infection can overtake a company’s computer systems and expose precious business data to hackers. 

Prevention and education are key to staying safe from human error from a compromised email. Conducting regular training programs focusing on data protection, privacy policies, and security best practices is vital. You must also emphasize the importance of careful handling of sensitive information.

Establish and enforce clear data handling procedures to minimize errors and encourage employees to double-check recipients when sending sensitive information.

Protect Your Business from Common Types of Data Breaches with Facet Technologies

With so many different types of data breaches lurking around every corner, it’s more important than ever to protect your business from a costly and damaging security breach. Having the right IT service and tech support on your side is imperative.

Facet Technologies has been your source for Business IT Support and Managed Services in the Central Illinois area since 1989. We take the time to understand your business needs. You can trust the experts at Facet Technology to meet your unique priorities.  

Ready to give your IT a much-needed boost? Contact us to discuss your IT service needs today.

Share this post