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In today’s technological world, more entities than ever store our personal information. And, unfortunately, all it takes is one data breach for this information to be exposed to criminals. Often, hackers and other nefarious actors steal people’s personal information for the purpose of committing identity theft. In this article, we discuss common causes of data breaches that result in identity theft.  

Insider Misuse

When discussing data breaches, most people picture computer hackers working diligently to access a company’s computer systems. Although this does indeed occur, some threats come from within an organization. Specifically, data breaches are sometimes the result of dishonest employees. Such threats can take a number of different forms, including malicious employees seeking to steal personal information and negligent employees who fail to properly safeguard such information. 

Stolen Passwords

Companies that fail to implement stringent password policies are easy targets for hackers and cybercriminals. Whether the threat comes from outside or within an organization, the failure to safeguard information with strong passwords routinely leads to data breaches, thereby putting people’s personal information at risk.  

Social Engineering

Social engineering occurs when a person tricks an employee into handing over personal information. There are a number of ways that criminals accomplish this, but the most common is through email phishing attacks.

Unpatched Applications

All software—no matter how protected—is exploitable. Software vendors attempt to address this by routinely releasing updated versions of their products containing patches to fix these vulnerabilities. However, users sometimes delay these updates (or ignore them completely), thereby putting people’s personal information at risk. 


Another common cause of data breaches is malware. Malware is a type of software that is installed on a computer without consent. Once installed, this software uses different methods to steal information. For example, some malware programs steal passwords, while others lock down systems and demand that users pay a ransom to unlock them. Malware can be installed on a computer system in a variety of ways, but the most common is through phishing attacks. 

Physical Attacks

Finally, although it is not as common as the methods above, physical attacks can also cause data breaches. Examples of such attacks include insiders accessing physical files and outsiders physically breaking into an office after hours to steal personal information. 

Contact a Florida Consumer Class Action Lawyer 

If a data breach has resulted in the theft of your identity, you should contact Lehrman Law immediately. When you come to us for help with your issue, our experienced class action lawyer will work hard to help you get your life back on track following the theft of your identity. Further, if your personal information was stolen due to a data breach, we will take steps to hold the responsible organization accountable. Please contact Lehrman Law today to schedule a free initial consultation.