ITRC/CyberScout report details data breach trends

The number of U.S. data breaches continues to grow dramatically, data from a report released by the Identity Theft Resource Centre (ITRC) and CyberScout shows, but the true growth rate is tougher to determine.

Tracked data breaches in 2016 totaled 1,093 a 40 per cent increase over 2015’s 780, but is fraud that much more prevalent or are breaches just better reported?

ITRC president and CEO Eva Velasquez said CyberScout has helped them better track incidents through direct contact with attorneys general and Freedom of Information Act requests.

CEO Eva Velasquez

CEO Eva Velasquez

“For the past 10 years, the ITRC has been aware of the under-reporting of data breach incidents on the national level and the need for more state or federal agencies to make breach notifications more publicly available.”

Ms. Velasquez said more states publicize data breaches on their websites. The ITRC’s Data Breach Report 2016 has information from more than one dozen such agencies.

The business sector was once again the most victimized area with 494 incidents representing 45.2 per cent of all breaches. Health care and medical services placed second at 377 beaches (34.5 per cent).

Hacking, skimming and phishing attacks accounted for more than half of all breaches. CEO spear phishing efforts, aka business email compromise schemes, are the most common type. Due to a 400 per cent rise in such attacks, the IRS issued both consumer and industry alerts on them in 2016.

Social Security Numbers were exposed in 52 per cent of breaches in 2016, an 8.2 per cent increase over 2015. That coincides with CEO spear phishing attempts which target this kind of information, ITRC said in a release.

One Comment

  1. Alexandra Hamilton
    January 20, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    Hi Tony,

    I came across your piece on the 2016 Data Breach Report today that mentioned the Identity Theft Resource Center as a source. I just wanted to thank you for helping make consumers more aware of our free services and information and educating them on the issue of data breaches. Of course, we would love to be able to provide you with any information you may need for future stories related to our knowledge base so please do not hesitate to reach out for an interview.

    Again, thank you for your interesting piece and I hope to speak further about how we can help you help your readers.

    My Best,
    Alex Hamilton
    Identity Theft Resource Center

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