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Study: Data Of More Than 16 Million Americans Compromised By Breaches Last Year

More than a quarter of those notified of a data breach became victims of fraud, Javelin study says

If you've received one of those letters notifying you that your personal data was involved in a corporate security breach, then there's more than a 25 percent chance you will be the victim of fraud in the coming year.

That statistic is one of many revealed in the new study "Data at Rest Is Data at Risk: Confronting a Singular Threat to Three Major U.S. Industries" (PDF), which was published last week by Javelin Strategy & Research.

The study, which was sponsored by anti-fraud vendor Identity Finder, demonstrates a strong correlation between enterprise data breaches and consumer identity fraud. According to the study, more than 16 million Americans were notified of a data compromise affecting their personal information in 2012.

Among those consumers who were notified of breaches in 2012, Javelin found the following:

• 4.4 million Americans were both notified that their payment card information was compromised in a data breach and suffered fraud on their existing credit or debit cards.

• 1.26 million Americans were both notified that their Social Security numbers (SSNs) were compromised in a data breach and became victims of identity fraud.

• 270,000 Americans were both notified that their online banking credentials were compromised in a data breach and suffered fraud on their financial accounts, including checking and savings accounts.

• 324,000 Americans were both notified that their bank account numbers were compromised in a data breach and became victims of fraud incurred against their checking, savings, or other financial accounts.

"By breaching the data stores of businesses in the financial, health care, and retail industries, criminals can obtain the fuel they need to execute various fraud schemes, and these crimes have crippling consequences," said Al Pascual, senior analyst of security, risk, and fraud at Javelin. "Identifying and protecting the sensitive information typically stored by these industries is essential for mitigating the risk of a data breach and, therefore, the risk of financial loss to data custodians, consumers, and third-party businesses."

To protect consumers' and employees' personal information, Javelin and Identity Finder recommend that enterprises seek out and identify sensitive personal information wherever it resides in the corporate network. They also recommend that enterprises maintain strong practices in data classification and risk-based security strategies for sensitive information.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add a Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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