Feeds

Hackers, insiders blamed for US data breach growth

Taking a leak

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

US organisations lost even more sensitive data in a greater number of information security screw-ups last year, according to a new survey.

A study by the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) calculated that 35 million data records were exposed last year in 656 admitted incidents, up 47 per cent compared to the 446 data loss calamities logged in 2007. Since an estimated 40 per cent of breaches go unreported, the true number of exposed records is likely to be far higher than headline figure suggest, ITRC explains.

The vast majority of data breaches that were reported last year involved data unprotected by either encryption or even password protection. Only in 25 (2.4 per cent) of all breaches involved encrypted data, while password protection came into play in just 8.5 per cent of cases.

ITRC monitor press reports and statutory disclosures to monitor five categories of data loss: data lost in transit, accidental exposure, insider theft, subcontractors, and hacking.

Computer malware, hacking, and insider theft accounted for 29.6 per cent of recorded breaches, where the root cause of the attack is known. One in six breaches (15.7 per cent) were blamed to insider theft, a figure that's more then doubled between 2007 and 2008.

More encouragingly, data losses due to human error rather than malign action dropped in frequency while still accounting for more than a third of cases (35.2 per cent), again where the cause of a breach has been determined.

Meanwhile, electronic breaches (82.3 per cent) continue to outnumber paper breaches (17.7 per cent) by almost four to one, ITRC concludes. US government organisation were inflicted in fewer breaches last year while screw-ups in the private sector showed a corresponding rise.

A full breakdown of the incidents logged by ITRC, on which it bases its report, can be found here (PDF warning). ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Webcam hacker pervs in MASS HOME INVASION
You thought you were all alone? Nope – change your password, says ICO
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked
Thumb drive design ruled by almighty buck
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Business security measures using SSL
Examines the major types of threats to information security that businesses face today and the techniques for mitigating those threats.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.