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Security United States

Data Breaches Rose Sharply In 2008 43

snydeq writes "According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, more than 35 million data records were breached in the US in 2008. Tracking media reports and disclosures companies are required to make by law, the ITRC noted a 47 percent increase in breaches last year at a range of well-known US companies and government entities. The majority of the lost data was neither encrypted nor protected by a password. A third of the breaches occurred at business entities. One in six breaches were attributed to insider theft, a figure that more than doubled between 2007 and 2008, ITRC said."
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Data Breaches Rose Sharply In 2008

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  • by truthsearch ( 249536 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @12:50PM (#26359107) Homepage Journal

    With increased layoffs and economic hardships I would expect these numbers to go up again this year. On top of the individual motivations for just attempting it, it's unlikely corporations or governments are going to drastically increase security spending this year.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Thaelon ( 250687 )

      Rarely should security have to do with spending. Sure, you'll plunk down a chunk of change for a fast firewall to sit between you and the intarwebs, but it's all pretty moot if your employees don't know any better and get password phished, or use Outlook Express and pounce on every cool sound attachment with wanton double clickery.

      In the IT world it's about being smart and educating your users more than anything else. And that just takes one competent IT guy and some face time with the rest of your people

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by truthsearch ( 249536 )

        Corporate training costs far more than one IT guy and a little face time. There's materials, conference rooms, continued support, etc. One IT guy would get very tired talking to tens of thousands of people, so a few would be required. Then every employee must commit at least a few hours, which drops productivity. And I'm sure the IT guys would want to implement some related systems, like testing for weak passwords.

      • Question everything


  • by LordAndrewSama ( 1216602 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @12:51PM (#26359119)
    more than 35 million data records were breached in the U.S. in 2008.

    Pfft, nowhere near the UK yet, keep trying...
    Hint: leave the laptop on a train. ;)
  • Wait, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @12:53PM (#26359135)

    Pardon me for saying, but insider theft in every business aspect has dominated the charts -- over 80% in most cases. Most case studies I've seen in computer security point to this as the overriding concern in setting up corporate networks and systems. And now comes along a report saying that this has been turned on its head and the reverse is true?

    I smell a rat, and looking at the name on the report, I think I might have found the cheese too.

    • I haven't read the full article yet, but it could be that insider breaches account for 20% of breaches, and 80% of records breached. Since insiders would have access to much more information, that wouldn't surprise me at all.

      Also in question is the definition of "insider breach." Is an employee leaving a laptop on a train an insider breach, or not? Is an employee accidentally posting personal information on a public web server an insider breach, or not? It's not malicious by the insider, but it's certai

  • Silly Stats (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Or, there has been an increase in the reporting of data breaches, since data breaches started to become newsworthy. Previously, we did not care.

    • by Zerth ( 26112 )

      That would be a symptom of LIH, Legally Induced Honesty.

      "We accidently emailed your information to Indonesia! There, we said it. You can't fault us, we were honest about it!"

  • "According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, more than 35 million data records were breached in the U.S. in 2008"

    Do any of these breaches have anything to do with the underlying Operating System [] ?
  • by kudokatz ( 1110689 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @01:13PM (#26359417)

    This is just more evidence of what is already widely known: people are generally lax about security matters. What we really need is some way of getting the point across that things like reasonable passwords are turning into a necessity of every-day life.

    Both the twitter and Palin e-mail "hackers" just guessed passwords or researched PII to get in. This also shows we definitely need some better form of authentication, and that authorization policies inside organizations should be more paranoid. Of course I'm still lost as to alternatives to passwords, so perhaps people will just have to suck it up and put a bit of effort into it.

    There are always the trade-offs between effort and the value of what one is protecting. If the public finds these data breaches unacceptable, why not make the consequences more serious so that from a business standpoint it is more worthwhile to spend on security? This may lead to corporations developing an atmosphere of security awareness, which will keep people actively thinking about important steps to take in typical day-to-day activities.

    • Of course I'm still lost as to alternatives to passwords, so perhaps people will just have to suck it up and put a bit of effort into it.

      Yeah, I'd go with that one, personally. It's not difficult to make sets of passwords that you can easily remember that wouldn't be straight from a dictionary or something equally inane and stupid.

      • by jggimi ( 1279324 )
        Passwords are generally considered to be poor authentication methods, when used alone. Strong or weak, password authentication can be attacked by brute force or by social engineering. Post-it Notes (TM) stuck to monitors are not even necessary. :) ------------ The generally accepted commercial practice for remote authentication is two use two methods to authenticate: something you have, and something you know. Example: your bank card (have) and it's passcode (know). Other "Have" examples: electronic t
        • The generally accepted commercial practice for remote authentication is two use two methods to authenticate: something you have, and something you know.

          Nothing is going to be impossible to crack. The extra step of "something you have" just means it's one more thing to forge for anyone who wishes to compromise your [whatever].

          Obviously a password can be brute forced and so forth, but the generally accepted "8+ characters, upper- and lowercase and numbers" works for most people and most situations.

          • by jggimi ( 1279324 )

            I don't disagree regarding impossibility. Several of my employers over the years have chosen to use electronic tokens as the "something you have" precisely because their ever-changing values synced to a token server make them more difficult to forge. For my own servers, I eliminate password authentication wherever possible and use either public key authentication, or S/Key one-time-passphrase-pads when PKA is impractical.

            Systems that accept password authentication need to prevent brute force attack, throu

        • Perhaps something like This? []
    • by KovaaK ( 1347019 )

      Secure passwords would be nice, but people probably aren't going to go through the trouble.

      I like the concept of locking an account after X failures to log in, but I always see stupid implementations of the idea. Most of the time, it's some value of X that is likely to annoy people who legitimately forgot their password and are going through their likely suspects. 5 times seems somewhat low for obscure sites you don't visit often, and I remember my girlfriend trying to log onto an important work related a

  • REPORTED breaches (Score:4, Informative)

    by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Wednesday January 07, 2009 @01:14PM (#26359421)

    An increase in REPORTED breaches. There is less stigma on it these days, and more scrutiny.

  • s/siders/dians/ (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by Hognoxious ( 631665 )

    Are outsourced workers counted as insiders?

    • I'm sure this was modded Flamebait by someone assuming that Hognoxious is obnoxiously racist. And s/he might be. But, as in police work, you only hamper yourself if you're unwilling to look at culture ("Gah! Not profiling!") or other pigeonholing to narrow down your search.

      Personally, from what I know about the Indian culture, I'd be surprised if they were the source of statistically significant amounts of data breaches. But the concept of looking at recent changes to the corporate world to see what has

    • Flamebait? Crack smoking mods.

      It's certainly inflammatory, but it's a perfectly legitimate question, if you ask me.

      Lots of data from these US companies is heading overseas to countries which have little, if any, privacy protection legislation. What they do have is routinely ignored due to regional financial needs, payoffs to law enforcement, and other corruption.

      So the question still stands: Are outsourced workers counted as insiders for data breach purposes?

  • Most all data in commercial and government systems are "exposed" or "compromised" to one degree or another virtually all the time. So it is not surprising that as we focus more attention on breaches, we discover an ever-growing number of breaches. Under the presenting thinking, the growth will never stop. Should each citizen therefore be mailed 100 breach notices every day? Legally and ethically speaking, we do not have a competent definition of what is and is not a meaningful security breach []. The result
  • Most companies I've work in secure production systems ok, but I often find unobfuscated subsets of production data in test or dev. IMHO this is laziness on the part of QA in data preparation.

    Data to obfuscate should include at least:

    • Date of Birth
    • SSN
    • Credit Card numbers
    • Policy or Account numbers
    • (HIPAA has a list of PHI data)

    The challenge is where a protected value is used as a key into other systems and records have to agree in order to test systems.

    Solution? Don't use protected data as keys?

    Any oth

  • I like to pass along things that work, in hopes that good ideas make their way back to me. Data breaches and thefts are due to a lagging business culture â" and people arenâ(TM)t getting the training they need. As CIO, I look for ways to help my business and IT teams further their education. Check your local library: A book that is required reading is "I.T. WARS: Managing the Business-Technology Weave in the New Millennium." It also helps outside agencies understand your values and practic
  • I expect people are carrying more data. Miniaturization should permit you to carry all the data you need in hip-hugging data breaches in the near future.
  • At least he got a girlfriend. His emotion chip works well.

  • There are a few issues with comparing reported breaches []. More laws have required the disclosure of breachs which is going to exaggerated the increase. At the same time the total number of actual breaches and records is still likely much higher than what is currently reported.

Air is water with holes in it.