Data Theft is the deliberate theft of information, rather than its accidental loss.

Data theft can take place both inside an organisation (e.g. by a disgruntled employee) or by criminals outside the organisation.

In one example, hackers broke into a Virginia government website, stealing the details of almost 3 million patients, and threatened to auction them to the highest bidder. In another, a former Goldman Sachs employee uploaded the companies’ secret source code to an FTP server in Germany.

Criminals often use malware to access a computer and steal data. A common approach is to use a Trojan to install key-logging software that tracks everything the user types, including usernames and passwords, before using this information to access the user’s bank account.

Data theft also occurs when devices containing data, such as laptops or USB drives are stolen.