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A data breach occurs when confidential data is viewed, stolen, or used by unauthorized individuals. This data commonly includes payment information, Social Security numbers, or intellectual property. While data breaches are not new threats, there is no doubt that they have increased in both frequency and size within the last decade. By understanding the history of data breaches, you can become more prepared to protect your personal information in the future.
The start and rise of data breaches
The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse begins its record of data breaches in the year 2005. Before this time, businesses and government stored mostly paper records rather than digital ones, which meant that any data breaches had to be orchestrated by hand. 2005 was also the year we saw the first data breach that compromised over 1 million records (at Designer Shoe Warehouse).
How data breaches occur
Most of the largest data breaches occurred as a result of being hacked by attackers using ransomware, malware or phishing. However, breaches can also be the result of an inside job, accidental publication, social engineering, or lost or stolen devices.
The future of data breaches
As more businesses and agencies continue to place more data on servers or the cloud, hackers become even more sophisticated. Small and mid-sized businesses with fewer security resources are particularly vulnerable. You can help keep your organization protected by keeping essential security software, such as ransomware protection, up-to-date.