Knowledge Center


Knowledge Center Items Data Breaches Up 29% Over 2016, With Hacking the Leading Cause

Data Breaches Up 29% Over 2016, With Hacking the Leading Cause

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Data breach incidents are reported to be 29% higher than 2016, according to Identity Theft Resource Center and CyberScout, with hacking the leading cause of data breaches nationwide. More than 790 breaches have occurred so far this year, but overall the number of breaches could hit a 37% annual increase over 2016, rising from 1,093 total breaches to 1,500, the study found. Identity Theft Resource Center tracks breaches in the categories of financial, health care and medical, government and military, education and business.

More than 12 million records have been exposed, says the report, although two-thirds of data breach notifications or public notices did not report the number of records compromised. “Only 33% of data breaches reported this year have made the number of records exposed publicly available,” said Karen A. Barney, director of research and publications at Identity Theft Resource Center, an increase of 13% over 2016 mid-year numbers.

The business sector was once again the one most likely to experience a data breach, accounting for 54.7% of the total breaches. Healthcare/medical came in second, with 22.6% of total data breaches occurring in that industry.

Sixty-three percent of all data breaches in the first half of 2017 were caused by hacking, which includes phishing, ransomware/malware and skimming. This represents a 5% increase from the 2016 numbers. Of the reported hacking attacks, 47.7% involved phishing. Nearly 19% of the hacking data breaches were from ransomware or malware incidents, the report found.

Employee error/negligence/improper disposal/loss was the second most common data breach cause, accounting for 9% of incidents. Accidental web/Internet exposure made up 7% of reported data breaches.

A data breach occurs when a name is released in connection with a Social Security number, driver’s license number, medical or financial record. “Exposure of the Social Security number is the primary trigger across the board for a state data breach notification,” said Ms. Barney.

All of these trends underscore the need for businesses to take steps to manage their risk, prepare for common data breach scenarios, and get Cyber Liability insurance protection. Without proper insurance and risk management in place, the cost of a data breach is significant. For example, The average cost of a data breach is $3.62 million globally, according to the 2017 Cost of a Data Breach Study: Global Overview from IBM Security and the Ponemon Institute. Healthcare data breaches cost organizations $380 per record, followed by financial services ($336 per capita), services ($274), life science ($264), and industrial ($259). The mean per capita data breach costs were $225.

"Data breaches and the implications associated continue to be an unfortunate reality for today's businesses," Ponemon Institute Chairman and Founder Dr. Larry Ponemon said in a statement. "Year-over-year we see the tremendous cost burden that organizations face following a data breach.”

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