A data breach is when information that is confidential and supposed to be secure is released or exposed by intentional or unintentional events. Data breaches can happen for a number of reasons. Hackers can break into a system to expose or secretly confiscate personal information. Political or social activists or agents can leak information, creating a breach. Or accidental or careless handling of devices, computers, and information systems can lead to accidental information breaches. Disposing of devices can allow incidental breaches if records stay on the device even after deletion.
The exposure of sensitive data or information is also called an information leak.