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A data breach is an incident that involves the unauthorized or illegal viewing, access or retrieval of data by an individual, application or service. It is a type of security breach specifically designed to steal and/or publish data to an unsecured or illegal location.
A data breach is also known as a data spill or data leak.
A data breach occurs when an unauthorized hacker or attacker accesses a secure database or repository. Data breaches are typically geared toward logical or digital data and often conducted over the Internet or a network connection.
A data breach may result in data loss, including financial, personal and health information. A hacker also may use stolen data to impersonate himself to gain access to a more secure location. For example, a hacker's data breach of a network administrator's login credentials can result in access of an entire network.