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What Exactly is a Data Breach?

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What Exactly is a Data Breach?


As we explained previously, personally identifiable information (PII), is any data that could potentially be used to identify a particular person. This can include a number of things from your Social Security number to your email address. This information is information that you need to hold close to your chest and something you should not freely give out. 

You might be amazed to know how many different companies have your name and other personal information stored in their digital database. You trust those companies to keep your personal details secure because they make up your identity. When companies or organizations fail to keep their records safe, a dangerous data breach could expose you to the threat of fraud and identity theft.

What Exactly is a Data Breach?

A data breach happens at any time an individual’s name and any other personal information are exposed to the risk of theft or fraud. In the modern age of technology and automated computer systems, this mostly means an incident where someone electronically steals information from a supposedly secure electronic database for the purposes of publication or sale. Identity theft, credit card fraud, and tax fraud are common consequences of data breaches.

Many companies fear losing profits if customers find out their personal information has not been kept secure. Some estimate that over 70 percent of organizations have experienced a successful cyberattack. Which equals out to a lot of customers having their information compromised. 

Common Types of Data Breaches

A data breach can involve any type of leaked personal information. The most common method used to access this information is an outside security breach, also known as a hack. Hackers are generally after personal information, such as:

  • Credit Card Information
  • Bank Account Information
  • Social Security Numbers
  • Personal & Business Addresses
  • Email Addresses
  • Phone Numbers
  • Driver’s License Numbers

All sorts of companies and organizations have information like this in digital files. For example, banks, internet companies and places of business all have personal information from consumers stored somewhere on a server. Even the places that you wouldn’t think have your information, probably have more than you know. 

With everything being stored online nowadays, companies have an obligation to take all possible precautions to protect your personal information. If companies are negligent or careless in doing so, you may be able to hold them accountable for any damages you suffer as a result of your personal information being compromised. 

Recent Data Breaches

Recently there have been some pretty big data breaches. So far this year Twitter, Marriott and Zoom have all been the victims of major data breaches. Hundreds of thousands of people were impacted by all three of these breaches, including Barack Obama and Elon Musk having their Twitter profiles hacked. 

These are just three of the bigger ones that made national headlines. 

How to Respond to a Data Breach

If you find out that a breach of security exposed your personal information, you should take the appropriate steps to protect yourself and your finances. You should consider what information has been compromised when responding to a data breach and act accordingly to prevent further theft. 

If your personal information was exposed as a result of a security breach at a company or organization, you may be entitled to compensation for any damages that occur as a result of the breach. A qualified data breach class action attorney can help you hold these companies accountable for their security negligence. 

If your personal information has been breached and your identity has been compromised, Maginnis Law’s data breach class action attorneys would like to speak with you. You can reach our attorneys by phone at 919.526.0450 or by email at info@maginnislaw.com. 

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