Data breaches seem to come so fast these days that sometimes it’s important for us as an industry to take a step back and catch our breath. It’s hard to believe that we’ve already been recording these incidents for a decade. So with that in mind, Trend Micro decided to take 10 years’ worth of US data breach information collated by the non-profit Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC) – and analyzed it to develop insights that organizations can use to better protect themselves. The result is Follow the Data – a two-part report designed to separate myth from reality when it comes to the key data breach trends of the past 10 years.
The report shows clearly that if you’re in healthcare, education, government, retail or finance, your industry has been among the most heavily targeted over this period. In fact, these five account for more than 80% of the total number of publicly disclosed breaches since 2005.
The most popular record types stolen were personally identifiable information (PII); health, financial, education, and payment card data; and credentials. These are easy to monetize and thus make lucrative targets. Health and education data is mostly stolen because they contain PII.
Follow the Data: Analyzing Breaches by Industry is the second part of our analysis and looks at some of the key trends by sector. It’s perhaps not surprising that these five industries suffered the most publicly disclosed breaches. After all, they store some of the most valuable personal and financial data around – so will always be a prime target for cybercriminals. And they’re among the most highly regulated industries, so there’s more chance they’ll have reported any incidents.
Let’s take a brief look at each, from the most heavily breached down.
Healthcare (27%): A big spike from 2010 suggests cybercriminals have found healthcare records increasingly lucrative and defences weak. Interestingly, loss or theft of data accounted for over two-thirds of breaches, also rising significantly post-2010. This could be due to better reporting or an increase in theft. Hacking accounted for less than 10%.
Education (16.8%): Unusually, breaches in education have been in decline, perhaps as hackers switch to more lucrative industries like healthcare. Hacking or malware (34.2%), unintended disclosure (28.9%) and loss/theft (31.4%) were the biggest causes.
Government (15.9%): A recurring pattern here is a major increase in breaches one year and then several years of decline as new policies and procedures are put in place. Loss of portable and other devices contributed to the most breaches (42%). However these have been in decline as hacking attacks increase.
Retail (12.5%): Point of Sale RAM scrapers have been behind an upward trend in incident reports, especially from 2010. Hacking/malware therefore accounts for 47.6% of breaches, followed by loss/theft (22.2%) which has remained steady, and rising insider threats (12.2%) which can largely be explained by skimming.
Financial (9.2%): Similar to the government sector, financial organizations would see a spike in breaches followed by several years of decline as new policies and protocols take effect. Loss/theft is in decline but hacking/malware and insider threats are on the rise.
we add in that the report can be used to identify the data most likely to be breached and give organizations a blueprint for updating their security strategy for protecting the most valuable data?
It’s pretty clear from our analysis that whatever industry your organization is in, it’s at risk. That could be from external financially motivated or state-sponsored hackers, malicious insiders, or even employee error or negligence. No organization will be able to provide 100% security against this array of threats. But if they can action the following key principals effectively, security managers will stand the best chance of mitigating risk and reducing the potential impact of an incident:
Click here to read Trend Micro’s two reports: Follow the Data: Dissecting Data Breaches and Debunking the Myths and Follow the Data: Analyzing Breaches by Industry.