Data breaches soared 50 percent in 2008

The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) of San Diego is expected to announce today that government agencies, businesses and educational institutions reported an almost 50 percent increase in the number of data breaches last year over 2007, according to the Washington Post.

ITRC said that 656 breaches were reported in 2008, up from 446 in the previous year; 43 percent of the breaches occurred in the government sector and nearly 37 percent took place at businesses, while schools accounted for roughly 20 percent of the reported incidents.

The reasons for the data breaches ranged from human error—the single biggest cause—to lost or stolen laptops and other removable electronic devices, as well as the accidental exposure of consumer data online.  

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