Avast Academy Security Other Threats What Is a Security Breach?

What Is a Security Breach?

A security breach is any unauthorized access to a device, network, program, or data. Security breaches happen when network or device security protocols are penetrated or otherwise circumvented. Hacking attacks and data leaks are examples of security breaches, so it’s important to protect yourself with comprehensive security software like Avast One.

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Written by Oliver Buxton
Published on September 30, 2022

Types of security breaches

There are many different types of security breaches, ranging from password cracking and software exploits to drive-by-downloads and other hacking attacks. When a system suffers a security breach, the results can be devastating and lead to ransomware attacks, unauthorized data breaches, and other cybercrimes.

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    Social engineering techniques that trick people into compromising their own security, like phishing and pharming, are increasingly common ways for hackers to initiate a security breach.

    Security breaches can expose a variety of personal information.In a security breach, hackers can uncover a wide array of personal information.

    Examples of security breaches

    Here’s a look at a few recent high-profile security breaches:

    Facebook: In 2021, the personal information of over half a billion Facebook users — including phone numbers, dates of birth, location info, email addresses, and more — were leaked. The breach happened through a zero-day attack that let hackers scrape massive amounts of data from the company’s servers.

    Equifax: In 2017, the US credit bureau Equifax suffered a security breach via a third-party software vulnerability similar to the EternalBlue exploit. Hackers gained access to the personal data of over 160 million people, making it one of the largest identity theft cybercrimes to date.

    Yahoo!: In 2016, 200 million Yahoo! user account names and passwords were put up for sale on the dark web. Yahoo! blamed the security breach on “state-sponsored hackers,” who were able to manipulate cookie data to gain access to user accounts.

    eBay: In 2014, the US ecommerce giant eBay suffered a devastating security breach that led to the wide-scale exposure of personal account information.

    What to do if you're the victim of a security breach?

    If you think you’re the victim of a security breach, act quickly to limit the damage. Reset the passwords to your personal accounts, notify your bank if you think your financial information is compromised, and remove any personal information that may have leaked online.

    Here are the steps you should take to recover from a cyberattack:

    Change your passwords. Security breaches often result in online account names and passwords being leaked. Changing your passwords will limit further damage.

    Notify your bank. If your credit card details or other financial information has been exposed, contact your bank immediately to prevent fraudulent activity.

    Run an antivirus scan. If someone managed to gain access to your computer or home network, you may have a malware infection. Use a trusted antivirus removal tool to identify and remove any threats.

    Contact the relevant authorities. If you’ve been the victim of identity theft or fraud, contact your local authorities. They will help guide you through the necessary steps to regain control over your accounts.

    Monitor your accounts and devices. After a security breach, monitor your accounts and devices closely for any suspicious activity.

    How to protect yourself from a security breach

    Protect yourself from security breaches and password cracking techniques by creating strong passwords, using two factor authentication, and keeping track of your credentials with a secure password manager. Good digital hygiene also includes using comprehensive security and privacy software to keep threats off your devices and make sure your personal data stays secure.

    Protect yourself with Avast One

    Avast One offers so much more than just anti-malware protection. With a built-in VPN, data-breach protection, and comprehensive network security, Avast One is your all-in-one online security concierge. Install it for free today.

    Monitor data breaches and protect your personal data with Avast One

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    Monitor data breaches and protect your personal data with Avast One

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    Other Threats
    Oliver Buxton