Security & Fraud

US Data Breaches Reach All-Time High Last Year

Data breaches in the U.S. reached an all-time high in 2016, with the number of breaches tracked reaching 1,093, a 40 percent increase from the year earlier.

According to a report highlighting findings from the Identity Theft Resource Center and CyberScout, the two found the financial services industry accounted for only 52 of the breaches, or 4.8 percent, resulting in that industry being the least hit of the five industries tracked. Business, health care, education and the government and military got hacked more than the financial services industry. The report also found that, for the eighth year in a row, hacking, skimming and phishing were the main drivers of data breaches, representing 55.5 percent of all reported incidents. Many were due to CEO phishing in which very sensitive data is exposed, noted the report. While consumers and businesses are constantly warned to pay close attention to their email, breaches that used email and the internet as a way to hack people only accounted for 9.2 percent of all the hacks. Employee error was responsible for 8.7 percent of the hacks.

This isn’t the first data set to show that data breaches surged in 2016. According to Gemalto’s Breach Level Index, in the first six months of 2016, data breaches rose 15 percent, and the number of compromised data records jumped 31 percent compared to the previous six months. The findings also revealed that 64 percent of all data breaches involve identity and personal data theft. “Over the past 12 months, hackers have continued to go after both low-hanging fruit and unprotected sensitive personal data that can be used to steal identities,” Jason Hart, VP and CTO for data protection at Gemalto, said in a press release. “The theft of usernames and account affiliation may be irritating for consumers, but the failure of organizations to protect sensitive personal information and identities is a growing problem that will have implications for consumer confidence in the digital services and companies they entrust with their personal data.”

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