What Is a Data Breach?
What Is a Data Breach?
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What Is a Data Breach?
Have you been made aware that your personal health information or other sensitive data has been linked to a recent data breach? You may be asking yourself, “What is a data breach?” Or if you are familiar with data breaches, you probably have many questions about your legal rights and your opportunities to pursue a lawsuit or other methods to get compensation for your damages.
It can be shocking to realize that a company you trusted lacked sufficient security, and these data breaches can lead to several dangerous consequences, including the resale of your information or the use of those details to carry out other crimes with your identity.
When these data breaches involve many people at once, consumers can come together to file a class action lawsuit against the entities that did not have appropriate data security or data privacy programs in place.
If you have suffered due to a company’s weak security or mismanagement of your data, contact Morgan & Morgan today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation to learn more about your options.
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What Is a Data Breach?
Simply put, a data breach refers to an incident in which personal information is taken or stolen from a system without authorization or knowledge from the system's owner. Online cybersecurity attacks are increasingly common, and any size business is subject to these. Businesses today collect many different types of data on their customers, from addresses, names, email addresses, credit card details, Social Security numbers, and more. and all of these types of data are vulnerable to attack.
Both large organizations and small organizations suffer data breaches regularly. Stolen data can involve proprietary, sensitive, or confidential details, including trade secrets or even matters of national security. The target company's reputation can also be harmed because of the subsequent betrayal of trust. Consumers expect that companies are doing everything in their power to minimize the possibility of a data breach. When one happens and information is leaked, customers may choose to work with a different company.
Data breaches have become increasingly prevalent in news stories, leading many people to be concerned about protecting their data privacy. Doing everything possible to minimize your risk of being in a data breach may not be enough, as the companies that collect, store, and use your data could be hacked or could even voluntarily reveal this data to other people.
The United States is home to more data breaches than any other country. In 2021, over 212 million users were affected by data breaches. Within the United States, California is home to more data breaches than any other state across a 15-year period. Many people may assume they don't need the support of a data privacy lawyer or that their information has not been leaked in a data breach. However, a 2021 data threat report identified that nearly half of all U.S. companies, or 45%, suffered a data breach in the last year. Personally identifiable information was the most common type of stolen record, while financial data came in second.
Many data breaches are associated with malware or hacking attacks. There are also other methods that criminals can use to carry out a data breach, including unintended disclosures, payment card fraud, insider leaks, theft or loss, or payment card fraud.
You may or may not be notified by a company that has experienced a data breach. You may not realize that you have been a victim of a data breach until long after it happens, which can complicate your ability to protect yourself. Your information may have already been leaked to somebody else and could fall into the wrong hands. This is especially concerning for anyone who has confidential health, financial, or other personal data that could be leveraged by criminals for many different potential uses.
As the data privacy lawyers at Morgan & Morgan can tell you, a growing number of consumers are coming together in class action lawsuits to pursue data breach claims. Reach out today for more information about a data breach that you believe has compromised your privacy and security.
What Are the Stages of a Data Breach?
Although each data breach may look unique and may affect companies in different ways, they typically follow several similar steps. Typically, this begins in the research phase when a malware creator or attacker selects a target and identifies any weaknesses and their opportunities to exploit them. This could be an entire network, a simple system, or even an individual employee. This can take a substantial amount of time on the hacker's part. Sometimes this can be carried out through something as simple as a phishing email, which involves someone clicking on a link and being taken to a fake website. This site can request information or details, which can help an attacker attempt to open more records.
After the weaknesses have been identified, the attacker will typically make initial contact through a social attack or a network-based attack. In a social attack, social engineering materials, such as tailor-made emails, are sent with the goal of infiltrating the entire network. This email can come with malware attachments that are set to execute on that person's computer or phone when open or even encourage that employee or person to respond with personal details.
In a network-based attack, however, weaknesses are exploited in the infrastructure of the target to start a breach. This can include things such as session hijacking, vulnerability exploitation, and SQL injections.
After the hacker is inside the network, they are free to explore and extract data. This data can be used for things like cyber propaganda or blackmail. This can also be used to collect data that can be used to execute even more damaging and deep attacks on the infrastructure of the target.
Are There Laws That Protect Me From Data Breach Issues?
As the Morgan & Morgan data privacy lawyers can tell you, there are some data breach laws that may protect you if your information has been exposed to hackers or malware creators without your permission. In countries like France, Canada, and the United States, organizations must notify people who have been affected by a data breach when the breach meets certain conditions. However, data breach legislation is extremely complex and may vary by region and country, and many countries still do not require organizations to even inform authorities about data breaches. However, you may have grounds to pursue a lawsuit against someone who has experienced a data breach and has failed to take necessary steps to protect your information, especially if you were proactively informed about their data privacy protections and the steps they would take to minimize attacks to their systems.
It can also be very problematic if a company waits a long time to inform you about a data breach, particularly if they knew about the data breach much earlier. This is because you have limited opportunity to react to that information, such as changing your financial details, informing the authorities that your identity has been stolen, or even simply changing your passwords.
There are many complex problems associated with data breaches, which is why a growing number of consumers reach out to data privacy lawyers to help discuss the opportunities to file a lawsuit. You may be eligible to pursue compensation with the help of an experienced and qualified data privacy lawyer. Meeting with the attorneys at Morgan & Morgan as soon as possible is strongly recommended if you find yourself in this difficult situation.
Do I Really Need a Lawyer?
In certain types of lawsuits, such as those involving claims of personal injury, you are pursuing a claim against someone because they have caused you harm. There is certainly a component of this with data breach lawsuits, but your pursuit for justice can also send a bigger message to companies about the importance of appropriate data security and data privacy measures.
Some companies do not understand the importance of staying on the cutting edge of cyber security protection measures, and this can end up hurting their consumers and potential customers. As a result of this, filing a lawsuit with the help of a class-action lawyer can help to show these companies and other companies around the world the importance of properly protecting personal data.
What is a data breach? It’s a serious event that could cost you dearly. Given the volume of companies that most consumers interact with on a regular basis, it can be very serious for data breaches to occur, as your information could be leaked multiple times. If you or someone you know is already dealing with the consequences of a data breach, contact Morgan & Morgan today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation to take your first steps toward recovering compensation. Act now.