2014: The Year of the Data Breach

Jan 30, 2015

Data breaches have continually been in the news over the last year. From Target to Neiman Marcus, consumers have been flooded with reports of their sensitive information being compromised. When Target’s POS system was hacked, it instigated consumer rage and a series of Congressional hearings investigating weaknesses in data security. Now in the wake of the most recent Home Depot data breach, which affected more consumers than the Target hack, consumer response has been mute. Analysts have named this declining outrage “breach fatigue.”

Karen Barney, the program director of the Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC), reports that the number of data breaches tracked by the ITRC in the United States was 764. This is up by 24% in 2013. 83.2 million consumer records, including credit cards have been compromised.

She explains that one reason breaches may have increased is due to a spike in data compromised in places assumed safe, like hospitals and doctor’s offices. Last year more than 40% of reported breaches involved medical providers. Unfortunately, Barney has no definitive answer as to why these breaches continually occur.

The ITRC’s main objective is to target and monitor data-breaches and tactics, such as criminal activity by employees, hacking, and other methods. ITRC notes that 2014 was a popular year for malware. Hackers planted malware into the POS systems of retailers and others, compromising more than 60 million consumer records. Last year, businesses accounted for 33% of breaches (79% of all records compromised), credit providers, banks, and other financial institutions accounted for 5.5% of breaches (1.4% of all records compromised).

Tracking data breaches isn’t an exact science, and true data is not always available. Most of ITRC’s information comes from states with breach disclosure laws that require sensitive data be released once requested. Not all states have these laws. Barney notes that as much as 37% of 2014’s known breaches do not come with publically reported figures.

Today, American consumers are battling sophisticated hackers who can obliterate their credit scores once their information is compromised. As a result, credit repair merchants are in high demand. eMerchantBroker.com can help you get your credit repair merchant account started today.

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