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Data breach

(also data leak, data spill, information disclosure)

Data breach definition

A data breach occurs when a company leaks personal user information. This data may include names, usernames, email addresses, passwords, and financial information that can be used for personal gain.

Real data breach examples

  • Facebook. In 2021, hackers took advantage of a security flaw and stole the data of 533 million users of Facebook. The data included names, Facebook IDs, phone numbers, emails, locations, relationship statuses, and other information. Hackers published some of the data on forums, where it was free to download.
  • Experian. The credit score company Experian suffered a major breach in 2020, which exposed the data of over 220 million Brazilians. The breach resulted in large quantities of their data being sold on the dark web.
  • Syniverse. The telecommunications company Syniverse admitted that hackers could access their network for five years, putting millions of cellphones at risk. Details accessed by hackers included call length and cost, phone numbers, location, and the content of text messages.

Watch it explained: Data breach