Data store

16 million affected by Data Breach last year

October 14th, 2013

Around 16 million people were affected by data breach incidents last year and more than a quarter of them went on to suffer from identity theft, according to new research.

The worst hit were those who lost payment card and Social Security number data and suffered the highest rates of fraud in the retail, financial and healthcare sectors.

In America, 4.4 million people were notified that their payment card information had been compromised in a data breach, and subsequently suffered fraud on their existing credit or debit cards. In addition, 1.26 million Americans were notified that their Social Security numbers were compromised in a data breach and became victims of identity fraud.

Recent massive data breaches like the one at Adobe, in which as many as 3 million encrypted credit card details maybe have been compromised, have highlighted just how much data can be stolen in one go.

As many as 270,000 Americans who were notified that their online banking credentials had been compromised in a data breach last year also went on to suffer fraud on their financial accounts.

A further 324,000 subsequently became victims of fraud against their checking, savings or current accounts.

Al Pascual, senior analyst of security, risk and fraud at Javelin Strategy and Research said “By breaching the data stores of businesses in the financial, healthcare and retail industries, criminals can obtain the fuel they need to execute various fraud schemes, and these crimes have crippling consequences”.

Opportunities to identify thieves has increased than ever before because of increasing moves towards digitization of patient records in healthcare, and the rise of online banking.

“Identifying and protecting the sensitive information typically stored by these industries is essential for mitigating the risk of a data breach and, therefore, the risk of financial loss to data custodians, consumers and third-party businesses,” Pascual said.

The following steps can be taken to identity theft arising from data breaches:

  • Locate and identify sensitive data.
  • Classify sensitive data accordingly.
  • Secure data based on risk profile.
  • Develop policies to mitigate future data management issues.

For now, the hunt of identity theft continues, and as long as organizations make themselves such easy and lucrative targets, we can assume the amount of data breach incidents are only going to rise.

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Unencrypted laptops present a major risk of data loss. 80% of information theft is due to lost or stolen laptops and other equipment. About 50% of network intrusions are performed with credentials gathered from lost or stolen devices. The penalties for a data breach are severe not only in terms of the monetary fines imposed on the organization, but also the potential loss of trust from customers and suppliers. Encryption software greatly enhances the security of your organization’s data as the information is not compromised if a laptop is lost or stolen.

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