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Reuters/Kevin Lamarque
“Really, guys?”

“Whoops!” is still the single biggest cause of data breaches

By Leo Mirani

Why do companies and institutions get hacked? Sometimes it is because of outside attacks and malicious software. Sometimes insiders go rogue. But most often, it’s just a mistake. For the second year in a row, the single biggest cause of data breaches, as classified by the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report (pdf), an authoritative annual study, is “miscellaneous error.”

The researchers responsible for the report further, and amusingly, divide these miscellaneous errors into three main categories, which together account for nearly 60% of all errors:


“D’oh!” covers sensitive information reaching incorrect recipients. “My bad” is when employees publish nonpublic data to public web servers. And “Oops!” is the insecure disposal of personal and medical data.