The 8 Most Common Causes Of Data Breaches: Things You Must Need To Know

Data breaches are becoming an increasingly common occurrence, with more than 4.1 billion records breached in the first half of 2019 alone. Unfortunately, these data breaches can have a severe and lasting impact on the security of your data, leaving you vulnerable to identity theft, financial loss, and other harms.

But in order to protect your data, you need to know what the most common causes of data breaches are. In this article, we will discuss the most common causes of data breaches and give you the advice you need to take proactive steps to protect your data.

What Is A Data Breach?

A data breach is any instance in which sensitive data is compromised. This could take the form of a cyber attack, a malicious breach of a company’s data storage system, or a data leak.

A data breach occurs when someone is able to get unauthorized access to a system or data in which they are not supposed to have access. Data breaches can happen in many ways:

  • By Hacking Into Computer Systems
  • Misplacing/Mishandling Sensitive Information
  • Accidentally Sending Data To The Wrong Recipient
  • An Employee Accidentally/Intentionally Misusing The Data

A data breach can happen when an organization stores your data electronically and someone gets access to that information without authorization. Information can be stolen from devices or networks.

Also accessed by someone with proper credentials but malicious intent. In most cases, breaches happen because of human error, lack of cybersecurity knowledge, or a combination of the two.

Human Error

One of the leading causes of data breaches is simple human error. In fact, experts estimate that human error contributes to approximately 80 percent of data breaches. These errors can come in many different forms.

But they are often the result of a lack of cybersecurity training, a lack of proper knowledge, or a combination of the two. As humans, we are prone to making mistakes, and cybersecurity is no exception.

This can happen in many ways, including accidentally clicking on a malicious link or attachment, accidentally sending sensitive data to the wrong person, failing to properly secure equipment.

Weak Passwords

Another common cause of data breaches is weak passwords. Passwords are the first line of defense against data breaches, and yet so many people fail to use strong and secure passwords.

In fact, many people use the same password for multiple online accounts, making it easier for hackers to gain access to all of their accounts with one breach.

The best way to protect your data against hackers is to use strong and secure passwords, and to change these passwords every few months. There are a few ways to create strong passwords, including using a password management app or using a long string of numbers, letters, and symbols.

Threats From The Inside

The final cause of data breaches we’ll discuss is threats from the inside. This refers to data breaches that are the direct result of an employee or contractor making a poor choice, such as failing to properly secure equipment or clicking on a malicious link or email attachment.

Although you can’t always predict when an employee or contractor will make a poor choice, you can take steps to mitigate the risk of data breaches from the inside.

For example, you can implement security awareness training or implement a BYOD (bring your own device) policy that requires all employees and contractors to use secure devices.

Social Engineering

Social engineering is a type of deception that hackers use to trick people into giving away sensitive information. For example, an imposter may call you on the phone and pretend to be from your bank.

And tricking you into giving away your account information or an imposter may email you pretending to be a representative from a company with which you’ve recently done business.

Poor Data Management

Poor data management is another fairly common cause of data breaches. Data management refers to the ways in which you organize and store your data. For example, if you store your passwords in a document on your computer, they will not be secure, as anyone with access to your computer can see them.

If you don’t have a regular backup system in place, a data breach could result in the loss of all of your data. If your data is not properly encrypted, it could be stolen by malicious actors, putting your data at risk.


Malware is short for “malicious software” Malware is any type of software designed to disrupt computer operation, gather information or gain access to private computer systems.

Malware can be hidden on websites, in emails, or even in legitimate software that has been altered to include hidden malicious code. Malware is one of the most common causes of data breaches, as it can give hackers full access to your systems, allowing them to gather and steal your data without you even realizing it.

Malicious Cyber Attacks

Unfortunately, malicious cyber attacks are all too common, and they are often used as a means of gathering data. While a cyber attack can take many forms, many cyber attacks are used to gain access to a computer system without the owner’s knowledge.

A hacker can trick you into giving them access to your computer or your accounts by sending you a seemingly harmless email with a malicious link, or they can use malware to gain access to your computer.

Cyber attacks can also be used as a type of denial-of-service (DoS) attack, which consists of flooding a system with too many requests, causing it to shut down or otherwise be unusable.

With a DoS attack, hackers can try to overload your computer with false requests, thus denying you the ability to use your computer or access your accounts and data.

While cyber attacks may not always result in the theft of data, they can sometimes be used to cause damage or disruption without the owners even knowing.

Denial Of Service

A DoS attack is malicious attempt to disrupt or disable a computer network. A DoS attack typically involves flooding a network with an abnormally high volume of traffic in order to disrupt the network, either as a prank or as a malicious attempt to disrupt normal network operation and deny service to legitimate users.

A DoS attack can come in many forms, such as an attempt to overload a computer system by flooding it with too many requests or by sending a large quantity of malicious code to a web server.

A denial of service attack (DoS attack) is when a hacker floods a website with bogus requests, overloading it and causing it to shut down. DoS attacks are commonly performed as a way of extorting money from people or organizations who are too embarrassed to admit their website was hacked.

They are also often used as a form of cyberwarfare, with countries like Russia and Iran frequently targeting critical infrastructure like power grids and transportation systems.


Data breaches are a growing problem, and they’re becoming more common with each passing year. These data breaches can have a severe and lasting impact on the security of your data, leaving you vulnerable to identity theft, financial loss, and other potential harms.

However, there are steps you can take to protect yourself against data breaches. The first step is to recognize the most common causes of data breaches. These include DoS attack, malicious cyber attacks and so on. Once you understand the causes of data breaches, you can take steps to protect yourself against them.

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