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Pop culture has made cybercrime seem like quantum physics: It is nearly impossible for the average person to understand how data and money are easily stolen with some computer keystrokes. Maybe that’s why cyber thieves make such compelling figures in movies and television shows. You want to understand just what the heck they’re doing.

On the surface, there seems to be a lot of mystery about real life data breaches at credit unions, banks and other financial institutions. Yet when one looks past the “elaborate” techniques and technologies used by hackers, the data breaches themselves are surprisingly simple. In fact, the vast majority result from three relatable scenarios:

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