During the past month, a company specializing in technology, computing, and video games was hacked and its customers’ personal information exposed online. These records contained names, addresses, phone numbers, and emails. Some of the data was encrypted credit card data dating back to 2009 and could be used for identity theft. This isn’t the first instance of an online security breach involving consumer data, though. In fact, the last two breaches in the past six months have resulted in the release of a lot of personal information.

Every year, hundreds of millions of new viruses and other malware are released, and a security breach could result in the loss of your confidential information. Those details can be sold online for fraud and identity theft, and the damage could be enormous. A major corporation could pay out up to $4 million for a single security breach, according to recent data. This doesn’t include unauthorized employees who may have accessed your network through an unsecured email.

The most recent major data breach occurred in May 2017 when Equifax’s servers were hacked and personal information of 145 million Americans was leaked. The breach took place over a three-month period, from May to July, and wasn’t announced until September. In 2013, the biggest breach in US history occurred when Yahoo’s website was hacked, allowing malicious actors to access 145 million people’s credit card numbers. Ashley Madison is an online dating website where married people can conduct affairs. The fallout from this attack affected a large portion of the community.

In addition to password-based attacks, hackers can also perform social engineering to gain access. Social engineering is a technique that allows an intruder to pose as an IT help desk employee and request a password to fix a computer. Other methods, such as phishing emails and exploited websites, allow hackers to gain access to a victim’s computer. It’s important to keep these tips in mind when using public Wi-Fi networks, as they can make your internet communications vulnerable.

The most common form of security breach occurs when an unauthorized person gains access to a computer or network, either through a deliberate attack or unintentional error by an employee. Other types of security breaches include unauthorized access to credentials, stealing sensitive information, and sabotage of IT systems. Some even include actions designed to deface a website. Even if your computer is locked and encrypted, the risk of a security breach is still high.

A recent survey found that nearly twenty percent of Internet-using households had experienced an online security breach. While this rate is steady since 2015, it has been growing more common as computing devices have become more popular. Furthermore, more households with Internet access reported security breaches than non-internet users. The NTIA estimates that this represents about 19 million people in the U.S. This statistic is not surprising. However, it does make it even more important to take precautions when using the Internet.

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