This past summer 183 million consumers had to deal with the fallout from large scale data breaches at a wide variety of financial institutions and retail chains including Home Depot, Kmart and DQ, according to a new study.
The Breach Level Index (BLI) released by SafeNet, Inc., looked at attacks that occurred during the third quarter of 2014. Between July and September consumers dealt with 320 breaches worldwide resulting in stolen or lost financial information, up nearly 25% when compared with the same time period last year. These data privacy issues affected people in three key areas – banking, shopping, and online identities.
The hardest hit industries
Financial Services (42%) and retail (31%) topped the list of industries affected by hacker attacks.
Technology and personal online accounts like email, gaming and other cloud-based services, came in third with 20%. When looking at all types of data breaches, identity theft came in first making up 46% of the activity.
The retail industry has been a favorite target for hackers who want to steal identities or credit card/banking information. Consumers have been tolerant because these kinds of breaches can be fixed by replacing a credit card, but the newest wave of breaches take cyber theft further.
“Once your personal photos or private messages have been accessed and leaked online, there’s no fixing that. Those items will be forever in cyberspace for your future employers, friends and family to access,” said Tsion Gonen, chief strategy officer at SafeNet.
While North America has been the hardest hit by hackers dealing with 66% of the attacks, it is a worldwide issue with South America, Europe, Middle East & Africa, and the Asia-Pacific area seeing breaches as well.
Stepping up their game
At the corporate level, it’s not enough to just clean up after hackers, according to Gonen. Corporations need to be prepared and proactive. “Companies should assume a breach and plan accordingly. They need to implement technologies and programs that minimize the impact of a breach on top of the traditional prevention,” he said.
The Breach Level Index (BLI) is a worldwide database of breaches, tallying up the severity based upon a wide range of criteria using a proprietary algorithm developed with industry analyst firm IT-Harvest to get their data.
Safenet is an information security company with a customer portfolio that includes commercial companies and government agencies. Their services include protecting and controlling access to sensitive data, guaranteeing compliance, managing risk, and helping keep virtual and cloud based environments safe.