Attacks/Breaches
1/4/2011
12:41 PM
50%
50%

Hackers, Insiders Behind Most Identity Theft

Malicious activity topped human error as a cause of the 662 data breaches recorded in 2010 by the Identity Theft Resource Center.

Top 10 Security Stories Of 2010
(click image for larger view)
Slideshow: Top 10 Security Stories Of 2010
Data breaches continue to plague businesses. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), in 2010, there were at least 662 data breaches, exposing more than 16 million records. Nearly two-thirds of breaches exposed people's social security numbers, and 26% of breaches involved credit or debit card data.

According to the ITRC's analysis, more attacks result from malicious intent than human error. The leading malicious causes of data breaches were hacking attacks (17.1%) and insider theft (15.4%). "Data on the move -- taking information from the workplace unprotected -- was 16.6% and accidental exposure on Web/Internet was 11%," said Linda Foley, founder and chairman of the ITRC. "Both are totally preventable and should be 0%."

While the above statistics provide insights into the scale and extent of data breaches, the ITRC also cautioned that it's only a partial picture. That's because 49% of organizations that suffered a breach didn't detail the number of potentially exposed records. In addition, many organizations simply don't disclose data breaches.

What counts as a data breach? The ITRC said it defines a breach as any event that puts a person's name, as well as some piece of unencrypted, sensitive information -- a person's social security number, driver's license number, financial details, or medical records -- at risk.

Not all data breaches are digital. In fact, according to the ITRC, "paper breaches account for nearly 20% of known breaches and typically go unnoticed until a consumer reports the problem to local media." In general, it said, companies have no legal requirement to disclose when their paper records have been breached.

In 2010, organizations that revealed they'd suffered a data breach included Educational Credit Management (3.3 million records), AvMed Health Plans (1.2 million), Lincoln National Financial Securities (1.2 million), South Shore Hospital in Massachusetts (800,000), and Ohio State University (760,000).

Other organizations, such as Experian and Home Depot, also experienced data breaches, but didn't disclose the number of people or records affected. As that suggests, legally speaking, data breach notification often remains a gray territory.

Some states, but not all, have data breach notification laws, which require any organization that suffers a breach to notify that state's affected residents. Interestingly, the ITRC found that information about 29% of the 662 reported breaches for 2010 could be credited to authorities in those states. "This is a clear argument for mandatory reporting to achieve transparency for the public," said the ITRC.

The organization also renewed its call for a single, nationwide clearinghouse of data breach information. "It should be comprehensive enough to allow readers to find out what happened, what information was compromised, and why the breach happened," said the ITRC. "This would also allow law enforcement to better address this type of crime."

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-8891
Published: 2015-03-06
Unspecified vulnerability in the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) in IBM SDK, Java Technology Edition 5.0 before SR16-FP9, 6 before SR16-FP3, 6R1 before SR8-FP3, 7 before SR8-FP10, and 7R1 before SR2-FP10 allows remote attackers to escape the Java sandbox and execute arbitrary code via unspecified vectors...

CVE-2014-8892
Published: 2015-03-06
Unspecified vulnerability in the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) in IBM SDK, Java Technology Edition 5.0 before SR16-FP9, 6 before SR16-FP3, 6R1 before SR8-FP3, 7 before SR8-FP10, and 7R1 before SR2-FP10 allows remote attackers to bypass intended access permissions and obtain sensitive information via un...

CVE-2015-1170
Published: 2015-03-06
The NVIDIA Display Driver R304 before 309.08, R340 before 341.44, R343 before 345.20, and R346 before 347.52 does not properly validate local client impersonation levels when performing a "kernel administrator check," which allows local users to gain administrator privileges via unspecified API call...

CVE-2015-1637
Published: 2015-03-06
Schannel (aka Secure Channel) in Microsoft Windows Server 2003 SP2, Windows Vista SP2, Windows Server 2008 SP2 and R2 SP1, Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 Gold and R2, and Windows RT Gold and 8.1 does not properly restrict TLS state transitions, which makes it easier for r...

CVE-2014-2130
Published: 2015-03-05
Cisco Secure Access Control Server (ACS) provides an unintentional administration web interface based on Apache Tomcat, which allows remote authenticated users to modify application files and configuration files, and consequently execute arbitrary code, by leveraging administrative privileges, aka B...

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
How can security professionals better engage with their peers, both in person and online? In this Dark Reading Radio show, we will talk to leaders at some of the security industry’s professional organizations about how security pros can get more involved – with their colleagues in the same industry, with their peers in other industries, and with the IT security community as a whole.