Understanding Data Leaks, Types, Causes, and Impacts

Understanding Data Leaks, Types, Causes, and Impacts

As its name suggests, data leakage, or data leakage, refers to a situation in which valuable data is exposed or accessed by unauthorized parties. It is important to note that data successfully stolen by hackers is often used to carry out social engineering-based attacks, such as email phishing. Furthermore, stolen user credentials can be sold on the Dark Web.

Of course, as a digital platform manager, this must be avoided. Data leaks not only harm users but can also have a negative impact on the company, including loss of user trust, damaged reputation, and potential legal consequences and fines.

Understanding Data Leaks

Data leakage is a condition in which confidential data is inadvertently disclosed or accessed by unauthorized parties. This threat can arise through various channels, such as websites, email, hard drives, or personal computers.

It’s important to understand that data leakage differs from data breaches. Here’s the fundamental difference between the two:

  1. Data breach is an intentional attack to hack systems and access confidential data.
  2. Data leakage occurs without intentional cyberattacks, often due to a lack of data security or user negligence.

Data leakage occurs without intentional cyberattacks, often due to a lack of data security or user negligence.

User Information

  • User identities: such as names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, usernames, passwords, and more.
  • User activities: such as order and payment history, browsing habits, and so on.

Credit Card Information

  • Details like card numbers, expiration dates, billing ZIP codes, and more.

In addition to seeking user information, hackers can also steal sensitive company information, such as emails, internal communications, business strategies, and more.

Types of Data Leaks

Data leaks come in various forms, including some common types:

1. Financial Data

This includes credit card details, banking information, tax data, transaction records, and even financial reports.

2. Health Information

Involves medical histories, diagnoses, medication information, and similar data.

3. Personal Information

Covers names, identification numbers, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, and online browsing histories.

4. Intellectual Property

Such as patents, intellectual property rights, internal communication, business secrets, original designs, business reports, customer lists, and even business strategies.

5. Other Critical Information

Includes meeting notes, agreements, confidential documents, and more.

Causes of Data Leaks

When important data is accidentally exposed on the internet or insecure sites, a hacker can access your personal information to carry out data breaches. There are many causes of data leaks, which can originate internally or externally. In summary, data leaks can be caused by various factors, including:

1. Insider Threats

Unfortunately, not all employees have good intentions when working. Some of them can be the cause of data leaks, with motivations ranging from financial temptation to revenge against the company.

Read also: Understanding Cyber Threats, Types, and How to Counter Them

2. Carelessness in Safeguarding Physical Devices

How often do you leave laptops, hard drives, phones, or other devices unattended, especially in cafes or shared workspaces? This habit can potentially lead to data leaks.

3. Malware Attacks

Malware, or malicious software, is designed to damage devices and steal data. This includes viruses, spyware, ransomware, and others. Malware attacks usually occur through email, websites, or malicious applications.

4. Vulnerable Systems

Often, vulnerable systems or incorrect settings can lead to data leaks, creating security gaps or vulnerabilities that can be exploited by malicious actors.

5. Human Error

Sometimes, data leaks are caused by human mistakes, such as typing the wrong email recipient, clicking on unsafe website links, or installing malicious apps due to negligence.

Impact of Data Leaks

Data leaks, of course, have a negative impact. Here are some of the consequences:

1. Credit Card Abuse

Stolen credit card details can be misused by others for credit card fraud, also known as carding. For example, unauthorized purchases of goods, gift cards, or illegal products.

2. Sale of Data on the Dark Web

Stolen data can be sold on the dark web, where buyers often use it for identity fraud, spam, phishing, and various other illegal activities.

3. Extortion Attempts

You or your company may be threatened to pay a sum of money to prevent the disclosure of critical data to the public.

4. Business Damage

Data leaks involving critical business information can damage the company’s reputation, market share, future strategic plans, and various other aspects of business operations.

Read also: Benefits of Implementing Cybersecurity for Companies

In conclusion, data leakage is a serious threat, as you now understand. Your valuable information can be exploited for harmful purposes, affecting both individuals and companies.

You can prevent data leaks more easily by using the Virtual IT Department services provided by AdIns. This service offers 24/7 online support that can assist you and provide private helpdesk support. Contact us via WhatsApp to learn more about the Virtual IT Department service.

Data Leakage, Understanding Data Leaks, Types, Causes, and Impacts, Advance Innovations

Author :

Ad Ins

Published date :

10 November 2023