What is a data breach?

A data breach happens when personal information is accessed, disclosed without authorisation, or is lost. For example, when:

  • a USB or mobile phone that holds a individual’s personal information is stolen
  • a database containing personal information is hacked
  • someone’s personal information is sent to the wrong person

A data breach can harm an individual whose personal information is affected. They can, for example, suffer distress or financial loss.

There are things you can do to reduce your risk of harm. And, there’s help available if you suffer distress.

Was this page helpful?

Thank you.

If you would like to provide more feedback, please email us at websitefeedback@oaic.gov.au