DATA SECURITY

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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Reader Comments

Wed, Jan 7, 2009 John Franks Alexandria, VA

I like to pass along things that work, in hopes that good ideas make their way back to me. Data breaches and thefts are due to a lagging business culture – and people aren’t getting the training they need. As CIO, I look for ways to help my business and IT teams further their education. Check your local library: A book that is required reading is "I.T. WARS: Managing the Business-Technology Weave in the New Millennium." It also helps outside agencies understand your values and practices. The author, David Scott, has an interview that is a great exposure: http://businessforum.com/DScott_02.html - The book came to us as a tip from an intern who attended a course at University of Wisconsin, where the book is an MBA text. It has helped us to understand that, while various systems of security are important, no system can overcome laxity, ignorance, or deliberate intent to harm. Necessary is a sustained culture and awareness; an efficient prism through which every activity is viewed from a security perspective prior to action. In the realm of risk, unmanaged possibilities become probabilities – read the book BEFORE you suffer a breach.

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