Attacks/Breaches
1/4/2011
12:41 PM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
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
Partner Perspectives
What's This?
In a digital world inundated with advanced security threats, Intel Security seeks to transform how we live and work to keep our information secure. Through hardware and software development, Intel Security delivers robust solutions that integrate security into every layer of every digital device. In combining the security expertise of McAfee with the innovation, performance, and trust of Intel, this vision becomes a reality.

As we rely on technology to enhance our everyday and business life, we must too consider the security of the intellectual property and confidential data that is housed on these devices. As we increase the number of devices we use, we increase the number of gateways and opportunity for security threats. Intel Security takes the “security connected” approach to ensure that every device is secure, and that all security solutions are seamlessly integrated.
Featured Writers
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading's October Tech Digest
Fast data analysis can stymie attacks and strengthen enterprise security. Does your team have the data smarts?
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-3304
Published: 2014-10-30
Directory traversal vulnerability in Dell EqualLogic PS4000 with firmware 6.0 allows remote attackers to read arbitrary files via a .. (dot dot) in the default URI.

CVE-2013-7409
Published: 2014-10-30
Buffer overflow in ALLPlayer 5.6.2 through 5.8.1 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash) and possibly execute arbitrary code via a long string in a .m3u (playlist) file.

CVE-2014-3446
Published: 2014-10-30
SQL injection vulnerability in wcm/system/pages/admin/getnode.aspx in BSS Continuity CMS 4.2.22640.0 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary SQL commands via the nodeid parameter.

CVE-2014-3584
Published: 2014-10-30
The SamlHeaderInHandler in Apache CXF before 2.6.11, 2.7.x before 2.7.8, and 3.0.x before 3.0.1 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (infinite loop) via a crafted SAML token in the authorization header of a request to a JAX-RS service.

CVE-2014-3623
Published: 2014-10-30
Apache WSS4J before 1.6.17 and 2.x before 2.0.2, as used in Apache CXF 2.7.x before 2.7.13 and 3.0.x before 3.0.2, when using TransportBinding, does properly enforce the SAML SubjectConfirmation method security semantics, which allows remote attackers to conduct spoofing attacks via unspecified vect...

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Follow Dark Reading editors into the field as they talk with noted experts from the security world.