Over the past 10 years of data breach history, 41 percent of breaches were caused not by hacking, but by device loss. Because of a particularly bad record of holding track of its devices, the healthcare industry has been responsible for more breaches than any other sector this decade, according to Trend Micro's analysis of the past 10 years of data breaches -- as catalogued by the nonprofit Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.
More than one-quarter (26.9%) of the data breaches reported since 2005 were in healthcare, but as Trend Micro points out in its report, these are only the breaches we know about. A vast majority of data breaches remain unreported, because data breach notification laws do not apply to them. There may be intellectual property leaks that would give you nightmares, but you won't receive a letter about it unless your PII was involved, and even then not all the details will be shared publicly.
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According to the report, from January 2005 to April 2015:
- 41% of breaches were caused by lost devices.
- 25% of breaches hacking and malware
- 17.4% of breaches were caused unintentional disclosure (not including lost devices)
- 12% of breaches were insider leaks.
However, some data was hardly ever compromised through the loss of devices. According to the report, a lost device rarely results in a compromise of credentials or payment card data, but nearly always in a compromise of PII.
These numbers also varied by industry, and in relation to the kind of data stolen and how it was used.
Healthcare and ID theft
Healthcare was hit hardest, accounting for 26.9 percent of breaches this decade, followed by education (16.8%), government (15.9%), and retail (12.5%).
Healthcare attributed 60% of its data breaches to lost devices and only 7% to hacking.
Yet, healthcare also had a larger insider leak problem than any other sector (17.5% of its breaches). Insider leaks were the primary source of identity theft cases (44.2%) and healthcare was hit harder by identity theft than any other sector, accounting for 29.8% of cases.
According to the report, insiders rarely steal credentials, but rather personally identifiable information, health information, financial data, and payment card data for the purposes of selling it, committing identity theft/fraud, or filing fraudulent tax claims.
"Stealing health data became popular from 2010 onward. It contains PII and may also include financial data, making it a lucrative target for criminals. There is a 72.74% chance that PII was also stolen if health data was stolen. There is a 20.79% chance that financial data was also stolen if health information was stolen," the report says.
Retail and payment cards
Retail was hit hardest by payment card breaches, accounting for almost half (47.8%) of them. Some of the traditional ways to lift credit card data required physical access to payment cards, but most now happen with the help of malware and hacking, particularly the point-of-sale malware that became popular in 2014. Even when averaged over the 10-year period, 54.8% of credit card data theft was committed via malware and hacking.
The value of data
PII is still the likeliest data to be stolen, but its value on the black market is dropping -- down from $4 per line last year, to just $1. Some of the other things popular on the market now include Uber accounts, Amazon, Netflix, Facebook, and Fed Ex accounts, as well as:
- mobile phone accounts: $14
- PayPal/eBay accounts: $300
- Full credit reports for people with high FICO scores: $25
- Banking credentials: $200 - $500, depending on available balance of account
Criminals value the data very differently from the individuals whose data it is. Trend Micro surveyed 1,000 customers about how much their data was worth. They valued passwords most, but only at $75.80. Health information and medical records were next, at $59.80. (American customers valued it more highly than European and Japanese customers, at $82.90.) Payment details were worth $36.60, purchase history $20.60, and physical location data only $16.10.
"One conclusion that we can draw from the survey is that US respondents valued nearly all of their personal information more than their counterparts from other countries," the report said. "While the perceived value of stolen data differs from its actual selling price, the final dollar value of damage inflicted to a business, an organization, or an individual by the criminal exploitation is significantly higher than both the perceived value and selling price."