Browse our list of commonly used security, privacy, and compliance terms and acronyms.
What is a data breach?
A data breach is a security incident in which sensitive, confidential, or protected information is accessed, stolen, or disclosed by an unauthorized individual or entity. This can occur due to a variety of factors, including cyberattacks, human error, or physical theft.
A data breach can involve the theft or compromise of a wide range of information, including personal data such as names, addresses, social security numbers, financial information, health records, and login credentials. The impact of a data breach can be significant, both for individuals whose data has been compromised and for the organization responsible for protecting that data.
In many cases, data breaches are caused by cyber attacks, such as hacking, phishing, or malware. These attacks are often carried out by individuals or groups seeking to profit from the stolen data, such as by selling it on the dark web, using it to commit identity theft or fraud, or leveraging it for espionage or sabotage.
Data breaches can have serious consequences for individuals and organizations, including financial losses, damage to reputation, legal liability, and regulatory fines. As a result, it is important for individuals and organizations to take steps to prevent data breaches, such as implementing strong security measures, conducting regular security audits and assessments, and providing ongoing security awareness training for employees.