What is a Data Breach?

Every day, you give private, sensitive information to companies you interact with. From shopping to banking to visiting your doctor, you’ve given personal information to hundreds of companies. And we all expect them to keep that private information private. This information can be as innocuous as when you last bought a gallon of milk—or as important as your Social Security number or baking information. Unfortunately, companies don’t always keep this information protected.

A data breach usually happens when a hacker or other unauthorized third-party gain access to information without your or the company’s permission. Data breaches can happen in person by gaining access to computers or networks or remotely by bypassing security protocols to gain access to information. Once they’ve successfully infiltrated where the private information is stored, the criminal steals information.

What kind of information is stolen in a data breach?

The most common information is account information with the company that was breached, like login credentials, names, email addresses, and other account information. While this can seem innocuous at first, knowledge about where you have accounts can have wide-reaching effects.  However, information can vary depending on what information the company had.

Some of the most common information stolen includes:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Login credentials
  • Email address
  • Payment cards
  • Social Security number
  • Birthdate
  • Banking information
  • Employment information
  • Medical & insurance claim information

While this list includes the most common types of data, almost any kind of information can be stolen during a data breach that an individual gives to the targeted company.

What happens to information stolen in a data breach?

The value of stolen information varies so what happens to it after a data breach ranges widely. Some information is posted for sale on illegal forums to be bought and used for illegal purposes. In many cases, the data stolen isn’t even the data the hackers were after and consumers are caught in the mix with other information stolen from companies.

Sometimes the information is used to create fake IDs or open bank accounts, though this isn’t always the case. Because not all companies disclose what information was stolen in a data breach, there’s often no way of knowing how you can protect yourself after a data breach.

What is a Data Breach lawsuit?

Companies often have a responsibility to keep data from getting into the wrong hands when it comes to keep consumers’ private information private, whether that information is medical records, social security numbers, or other sensitive information about consumers. New laws are being passed across the globe that increase the penalties for companies when information is accessed by unauthorized parties, though many laws still only require companies to disclose when a data breach occurs to those affected.

A Data breach lawsuit aims to hold those accountable who have neglected to take appropriate care of sensitive information. When a data breach happens, those affected can often band together to form a class action to collectively hold accountable the company that failed to keep their information safe.

Data breach lawsuits can not only provide financial renumeration for the harm done to personal reputation, finances, credit scores, and privacy but have been helping to transform companies’ duties when it comes to private information. Since data breaches have been increasing in frequency and the numbers of records affected have astronomically increased, data breach lawsuits also help to shift the public’s perception of the importance of keeping private information private. As public opinion changes, legislators are responding by creating new laws that help protect private consumer data.

Our Data Breach Law Firm

We work with clients to identify data breaches and hold those accountable who have failed to protect private consumer information. We’ve helped clients with well-known data breach cases, like the Equifax data breach, as well as smaller data breaches that affected fewer consumers in Arkansas and Texas. Data breaches of any size are a serious matter.

If you’ve been affected by or think you may have been affected by a data breach, we offer free consultations to learn about your claim. Call us today to find out how we may be able to help hold those accountable.