The annual California Data Breach Report has indicated that the number of data breaches that occurred in California in 2013 has increased from 131 cases in 2012 to 167 cases in 2013. What is more staggering is that the actual number of people affected by the data breaches increased by 600% during the same period. As a result, over 18.5 million people were actually affected by the data breaches.
California’s attorney general, Kamala Harris, believes that the current statistics are troubling for the California State as in 2012, 17% of the total number of data breaches to occur in the United States happened in California.
Harris stated, “With the world’s eighth largest economy and more than 38 million consumers, California is uniquely impacted by data breaches. In 2012, 17% of the data breaches recorded in the United States took place in California – more than any other state. Even more troubling, the number of reported breaches in California increased by 28% in 2013.”
The retail sector accounted for the largest number of data breaches (26%) which were followed by the finance and insurance sector (20%) and the healthcare sector at (15%). In 2013, malware and hacking contributed to 53% of total breaches to occur within the Californian state whilst physical loss or theft of storage and computing devices containing unencrypted data made up 26% of the total data breached. Unintentional misuse and deliberate misuse by insiders contributed 18% and 4% respectively.
The retail sector has significantly contributed to the overall statistics, mainly thanks to the two large data breaches that affected Target and LivingSocial customers. These two incidents can also be contributed to the huge increase in the number of people affected.
Such statistics show the importance of ensuring that data is stored in a secure format. Kamala Harris has urged the state’s retailers to utilise chip-enabled point-of-sale (POS) systems and encryption after large amounts of customer data was compromised during a stage where it remained in its raw format.