ITRC-CyberScout Report: Govt-Military Sector Accounted for 7% of US Data Breaches in 2016

A new report by CyberScout and the Identity Theft Resource Center says the government and military sector represented 6.6 percent of the total number of U.S. data breach cases in 2016 with 72 incidents reported.

The ITRC Data Breach Report 2016 shows the total number of breaches in the U.S. reached 1,093 in 2016, up 40 percent from 780 cases reported in the previous year, ITRC said in a Jan. 19 news release.

Eva Velasquez, ITRC president and CEO, said ITRC teamed up with CyberScout to track breach incidents across the country through submission of Freedom of Information requests and collaboration with attorney general offices at several states.

“For the past 10 years, the ITRC has been aware of the under-reporting of data breach incidents on the national level and the need for more state or federal agencies to make breach notifications more publicly available,” Velasquez noted.

“This year we have seen a number of states take this step by making data breach notifications public on their websites,” she added.

Of the five industries, the business sector landed the top spot in terms of the number of cyber breaches at 45.2 percent, followed by the healthcare industry at 34.5 percent and the education sector at 9 percent.

Hacking, phishing and skimming attacks represented 55.5 percent of the total number of breaches in 2016, followed by accidental email-related data exposure at 9.2 percent and employee error at 8.7 percent.

“In an age of an unprecedented threat, business leaders need to mitigate risk by developing C-suite strategies and plans for data breach prevention, protection and resolution,” said Matt Cullina, CEO of CyberScout and vice chair of the board of directors at ITRC.

The report also found that exposure of Social Security numbers rose 8.2 percent in 2016 compared with the prior year, while data exposure associated with credit and debit cards showed a 7.4 percent decline in 2016.

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