A data breach is typically an unforeseeable and inadvertent release of personal or confidential/sensitive information to a potentially unwary third party. Other names for this occurrence are accidental information disclosure, personal information leak, confidential information breach, accidental data theft and even data spillage.
Data breaches occur when any individual, organization, business or government entity acquires a record, file or other information that is not intended for public consumption and that exposing sensitive data to unauthorized parties. These data breaches may occur during the transmission, storage or access to such sensitive data. The result can be the exposure of sensitive data such as social security numbers, credit card numbers, bank account details, medical records, and financial information.
Data leaks may also occur at the end of a business cycle. For example, employees may mistakenly delete a file, system files or other data from their computer or hard drive. However, even in these instances, they may unintentionally remove vital information. An example would be a business employee accidentally deleting a system file containing vital information from his computer during system maintenance. Such accidental leaks can create a huge potential risk to a company.
A second type of data breach that is a potential threat is identity theft. In this case, a third party gains access to your confidential/sensitive information. This person then uses that information to open up a credit line or apply for a loan and to obtain goods or services that are not intended for the user. Identity theft is becoming a major problem in the US due to the increased number of identity thieves who obtain sensitive and private personal information via various online means including online credit card purchases, online banking, social network and email accounts.
Data spillage is a common cause of information loss that occurs when confidential or sensitive information spills over from one computer to another. Data spillage occurs when confidential/sensitive information is leaked by one computer to an unauthorised third party or is stolen during data storage on another system. It may happen when an organisation inadvertently sends an e-mail containing sensitive data to a server of a customer or client that was not intended for distribution to other people. It may happen when data is accidentally deleted, accidentally copied from one system to another, accidentally transferred during transport and even when it is stored on a computer system that does not support file encryption.
Data breach and data spillage is a growing threat to all types of organisations and companies in the US and the UK. They are very easy to prevent and resolve so that they cannot be ignored.
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