Tag Archives: United States

Data Breaches on the Rise in California

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.

Has Sears Suffered a Data Breach?

Sears Holdings have confirmed that they are currently reviewing their systems to see if they have become the latest victim of a data breach.

So far, it is good news for Sears and their customers as the review has shown no signs that a data breach has occurred but the review is still ongoing.

Howard Riefs who is the director of corporate communications at Sears Holdings has confirmed that they are currently reviewing their systems to determine if they have suffered from a data breach.

Riefs stated, There have been rumours and reports throughout the retail industry of security incidents at various retailers, and we are actively reviewing our systems to determine if we have been a victim of a breach.

The retailer which has almost 2,500 stores in the United States and Canada have started the investigation after a series of reported data breaches by other high profile companies such as White Lodging and Target which resulted in debit and credit card information being stolen.

A major flaw in the point of sales systems is what hackers have been successfully exploiting. The flaw meant that unencrypted card details were held in a computers memory for a short period of time but long enough for the hackers to be able to obtain all of the information. It was this flaw that the hackers used in the Target data breach which resulted in the malware sending the card details to servers outside of the company.

With the rewards of successfully hacking into a companys computer network and stealing confidential data becoming greater, the importance of ensuring that there are no weaknesses in your security plan is increasing by the day. This should be tested on a regular basis and set up to guarantee that the latest updates are downloaded and applied.

As part of a successful security plan, a robust backup solution should be utilised. This can help save a company thousands of pounds and limit any potential damage to its reputation. By having a robust backup solution in place, it means that data can be recovered to a required state no matter if it is deleted or modified.

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