The number of data breaches in the first half of 2015 has jumped 10 percent over the same time period last year, according to a new report from Gemalto. Yet, the number of records that have been compromised is down by 41 percent.
It seems like these are conflicting numbers, doesn’t it? Dark Reading provided a possible reason for this:
This decline in compromised records can most likely be attributed to that fact that fewer large scale mega breaches have occurred in the retail industry compared to the same period last year.
Apparently, the biggest breach of the first part of the year was Anthem, with 78 million records compromised (a total of 246 million records were compromised worldwide in the first half of the year in nearly 900 breach events). Not surprisingly, the biggest breach so far in 2015 involved a health care company. Information Age reported that health care breaches are a unique commodity:
Healthcare records are more valuable than stolen credit card details since credit cards can easily be cancelled, but fraud using a person’s medical records is much more difficult to stop.
It might seem like businesses are the biggest losers in data breaches, considering the average cost of a data breach in the United States now runs about $217 per record and we know that a single breach can financially destroy a small business.
However, the real victims in a breach are likely the consumers whose personal information was compromised by the breach. According to the Gemalto report, identity theft is the leading reason behind the exposure of information, with 75 percent of all records. As someone who was a victim of a data breach, the idea of my identity being ripped off is pretty darn scary, especially considering I had zero control over how any of that information was stored or what information was readily available. Ensuring that your customers aren’t put into this position needs to have a higher priority.
One slightly surprising revelation in this report is the number of malicious attacks generated from the outside. Insider attacks seem to get all the headlines, but the report found:
The leading source of data breaches in the first half of 2015 continues to be malicious outsiders, who are responsible for 546 of the breaches in this period and comprise 61.5% of the total. The share of attacks attributed to outsiders has risen steadily since the first half of 2013 when it accounted for only 52%.
As we are painfully aware (or should be by now), data breaches are becoming too common, and those behind the breaches are coming for very specific information. So what are you doing to protect your data?
Sue Marquette Poremba has been writing about network security since 2008. In addition to her coverage of security issues for IT Business Edge, her security articles have been published at various sites such as Forbes, Midsize Insider and Tom's Guide. You can reach Sue via Twitter: @sueporemba