3 Kinds of Data Breaches that Can Harm Your Business

May 19, 2021

A data breach is any security incident that occurs when an unauthorized party accesses personal or private data. Data breaches damage reputations and can be costly to fix, which is why so many businesses actively work to keep data breaches from occurring.

However, not every data breach is the same. It is crucial to know the different types, as the methods of prevention and the way that you’ll need to react may vary.

In essence, there are three kinds of data breaches that you should be aware of:

  • Ransomware
  • Phishing
  • Physical breaches

Maintaining high security should always be a priority, but data breaches can still occur from time to time. Data breaches cost time, money, and can even lead to an employee being let go. For this reason, it’s helpful to be able to identify some of the types of breaches that can happen to a business.


A large portion of data breaches happen from a phishing attack. A scammer sends an email that, to the victim, seems to be legitimate. The attacker pretends to be an institution or a well-known individual that lures the victim into sending private or personal data.

The most common types of phishing attacks are email scams and website scams. These scams often include the introduction of malware that, once the email or website is opened, gets downloaded onto the victim’s device.

A large-scale phishing attack exposes both consumer and employee data, including Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, addresses, and more.


Ransomware data breaches can be compared to a human hostage situation — your data is held hostage, and you cannot access or use it. The attacker holds onto the data and demands payment in order to release it.

This is done either by locking the victim out of their device or encrypting the files on the device until the ransom is paid in full. Most ransomware attacks start out from phishing scams and include malware used to encrypt or lock files.

However, ransomware attacks don’t always occur immediately. The attacker may wait until the device is vulnerable or unattended before they make their move. Once the device has been infected with the malware, the attacker will request ransom money through a user notification.

Physical Attacks

This might seem simple, but physical theft is one of the more common types of data breaches. Physical attacks occur when data is physically stolen in the form of devices, hardware, or documents.

There are a few different ways that this can happen:

  • An employee leaves valuable files unattended
  • A thief breaks in and steals documents or hardware
  • An employee giving private data to an outsider

Humans make mistakes, but these mistakes end up costing the companies hundreds of thousands of dollars and can ruin their reputation.

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