Data Breach Disclosures Jumped 40% in 2016

Number of Data Breach Disclosures Jumped 40% in 2016

Though there were no mega breaches, 2016 had more breaches on record than any previous year, according to a new report.

Last year witnessed few data breaches of the kind that rocked 2015 when organizations like Anthem, the Office of Personnel Management and Ashley Madison reported security incidents involving tens of millions of personal records. Still, 2016 was a pretty bad year for data breaches. New data from the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) and CyberScout show that 2016, in fact, had more reported breaches than any previous year.

A total of 1,093 security incidents involving loss of sensitive data were disclosed last year. The number represented a 40 percent jump compared to the 780 breaches reported in 2015. In all, about 36.7 million records were exposed in the breaches, which the two organizations described as any incident where an individual’s name along with their driver’s license number, Social Security Number, bank or financial account data, medical records and credit or debit card data is exposed.

In keeping with recent trends, the business sector including retail organizations, suffered the most number of breaches and accounted for 495 or 45.2% of all reported incidents. Healthcare organizations, with 377 breaches or 34.5% of the reported total, ranked second in the list of most breached organizations, followed by educational institutions with 98, and then government and military entities with 72 reported incidents.

In terms of raw numbers, banks and credit card companies had fewer breaches (52) than organizations in any of the other sectors included in the data breach report. However, that number does not tell the full story of the extensive financial damage caused to several banks in 2016 by attackers who exploited the SWIFT messaging network to illegally transfer huge sums of money to offshore accounts.

Hacking, payment card skimming, and phishing attacks represented the leading cause for data loss for the eighth year in a row, according to CyberScout and the ITRC. Combined, the three attack methods accounted for 55.5% of all reported security breaches last year, or nearly 18% higher than in 2015.

Many of the phishing attacks — the report does not specify an exact number — involved CEO business email compromise schemes, and resulted in the exposure of highly sensitive corporate data including those related to state and federal tax filings.

Non-malicious slip-ups, like accidentally sending out an email with sensitive customer data or employees negligently posting confidential data on a public facing website, accounted for a surprisingly high 9.2% — or nearly 1,000 — of the reported incidents last year.

Eva Velasquez, president and CEO of ITRC says it is not entirely clear if the higher number of data breaches in 2016 occurred because there were more actual breaches, or simply because more of them are being reported under new disclosure requirements.

“It is our opinion that both are factors here, but that it is more likely that breaches are actually being discovered due to more robust security measures being in place,” she says.

While the business sector was most impacted last year, it is important keep in mind that over time other sectors have been impacted more heavily for different reasons, Velasquez points out. At one time, for instance, financial companies were big targets since attackers perceived them as having a lot of valuable information. In recent years, the medical and business sectors have gone back and forth as favourite targets.

A study released in December by TrapX showed that attacks on healthcare organizations for instance, grew 63% in 2016 and included some major incidents such as a breach at Banner Health that exposed 3.6 million records, and another at Newkirk Products which compromised 3.4 million records.

“As the thieves come up with more creative ways to monetize our data, different data becomes more valuable, hence the thieves change their targets,” Velasquez says.

Data breaches have become the third certainty in life, adds Adam Levin, chairman and founder of CyberScout. “Businesses of every size and stripe are under assault practically every minute of every day,” Levin says.

“As defenders, they must get everything right while an attacker need find only one point of vulnerability … and make no mistake, foreign and domestic attackers are well armed, fully weaponized and in war mode.”

Dark Reading 2017

UK.gov coughed over £2 MILLION in data breach fines in the past year

Overall fines have TRIPLED from 2011 – 12

The total number of self-reported* data breaches in the UK increased from 730 between March 2011 and February 2012 to 1,150 in a similar period in the year up to early March 2013. The lion’s share of the fines paid out originated from the public sector.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Information Commissioner’s Office also discovered that the number of fines imposed on organisations for poor data security shot up from nine penalties totalling £791,000 in 2011-2012 to 20 penalties adding up to £2,610,000 in 2012-2013.

The proportion of monetary penalties imposed on the private sector has grown: from one of nine penalties in 2011-2012 to four of 20 in 2012-2013, resulting in fines totalling £520,000 out of a grand total of £2,610,000 – which means the public sector coughed up over £2m. Stats obtained via the FOI request show breaches reported to the ICO grow from 730 in 2011-2012 to 1,150 in 2012-2013.

High fines were levied against organisations such as Sony, which received a fine of £250,000 for the 2011 breach of the PlayStation Network. But the most-penalised organisations are local councils (accounting for eight penalties) and the NHS (accounting for six). NHS trusts alone were hit by fines of £945,000 while local council were stung for £845,000.

The majority of penalties were for simple human error: especially the act of sending or sharing information inappropriately.

ViaSat UK, the security and communications specialist that filed the FOI request, said that while the increase in reported data breaches may mean more beaches are happening, it also suggests that more breaches are actually being spotted and reported; a positive development.

“Those of us concerned about the state of data protection in the UK can take some comfort from these figures,” said Chris McIntosh, chief exec of ViaSat UK. “First is the fact that more data breaches are being reported. While this may mean an increase in the number of breaches, it also suggests that such breaches are being more readily identified and reported, rather than left unreported where the issues causing them will fester, unresolved.

“Second, it is clear that the ICO is standing by its promise to use both the carrot and the stick when enforcing the Data Protection Act. Not only has the number of monetary penalties increased year-on-year, but they have grown in size and been implemented across both the public and private sectors.” ®

IT lawyer Dai Davis of Percy Crow Davis & Co added that many tens of thousand of breaches are unreported each year.

“At present the only breaches that must be reported are some by telecommunications companies (BT, Vodafone etc.),” Davis explained, adding that the ICO figures obtained by ViaSat probably refer to truly voluntary disclosures.

Leaknote*Self-reported data breaches cover breaches of data security that organisations are compelled to report to the ICO.

Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/04/25/data_breach_foi/
By John Leyden

Related stories: Nicked unencrypted PC with 6,000 bank details lands council fat fine
(7 June 2013
)

51% of UK networks compromised by BYOD

Half of UK business networks have already been compromised by the bring-your-own device (BYOD) phenomenon of workers using personal devices for work-related activities and for attaching to corporate networks.

That’s the assessment of new research from Virgin Media Business, which found that in 2012, a full 51% of the UK’s secure IT networks were breached due to employees using personal devices.

In surveying 500 British CIOs, Virgin Media Business found that smaller businesses experienced 25% fewer breaches of security compared to larger organizations.

“Last year was clearly a bumpy road for companies introducing personal devices at work,” said Tony Grace, COO at Virgin Media Business. “That’s natural enough as no one has so far been able to come up with the magic solution. CIOs shouldn’t see this as a burden and in 2013 they can take the lessons learned and turn these personal devices into business enablers to really help drive the bottom line.”

In 2012 the consumerization of IT and BYOD have gone from being buzzwords and theories, to being everyday matters and issues for CIOs. “Security, connectivity and user policies are the three key factors needed to embrace new technology successfully, but this isn’t anything new,” the research found. “With just 20% of big businesses allowing staff to use their own kit in the office, there needs to be a shift in mindset.”

The issue will only grow larger: Virgin Media noted that a tablet was sold every second in the run up to Christmas, up 112% from last year, meaning January is likely to see a clear influx of the devices in the workplace, driving a need for clear policies on BYOD.

“With sales of tablets expected to have gone through the roof over Christmas, it looks like personal devices in the workplace is here to stay,” said Grace. “But with just a fifth of large firms having a BYOD policy, businesses will continue to experience security breaches until connectivity, security and user policies are put in place.”

Security Guardian was designed to make BYOD work at minimal cost.

This article is featured in: Compliance and Policy  •  Industry News  • Internet and Network Security  •  Malware and Hardware Security  •  Wireless and Mobile Security

Government departments release data on missing IT equipment

Ministry of Defence lost 1,058 items of equipment in 2011-12

Government departments saw 2,070 pieces of IT equipment lost or stolen in 2011-12, according to written answers in the House of Commons.

With the exception of the Department for Education and the Cabinet Office, all central departments have now written formal responses to requests regarding how many pieces of IT equipment were lost or stolen during 2010-11 and 2011-12.

408 of the missing items for 2011-12 were computers and 499 were mobiles, of which 422 were BlackBerrys. 1,163 were categorised as ‘other’.

The requests were lodged by Gareth Thomas MP, Labour’s shadow minister for the Cabinet Office.

Over half of the missing pieces of IT equipment across government were accounted for by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), which lost 1,058 items in total, including 206 computers, 24 mobiles and 34 BlackBerrys. Unlike some other departments, these figures are raw data and do not include any recovered property.

794 pieces of equipment were categorised as ‘other’. This category refers to IT items such as CDs, DVDs, and removable memory such as USB sticks.

Explaining why the figures for the department were so high, an MoD spokesperson said, “The MOD employs more than 250,000 individuals operating all round the world, with frequent movement of forces and equipment between locations in support of operations.”

The spokesperson added, “The MoD takes the loss or theft of equipment very seriously and works hard to detect and deter theft. There are robust processes in place to raise awareness of the need for vigilance in all aspects of security and we actively encourage individuals to report loss or theft. This work has resulted in a rise in the number of reports over the last year.

“Where theft does occur and a suspect is identified, prosecution or internal disciplinary action will follow as appropriate.”

After the MoD, the departments that lost the most equipment include the Ministry of Justice (268) and the Department for Communities and Local Government (151).

However, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and HM Treasury reported just 10 losses apiece for 2011-12.

In comparison, the Department for Transport and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills lost 102 pieces of IT equipment each, while the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) reported 97 items missing. The Department of Health mislaid 63 items, while the Home Office lost 49.

A direct comparison is not possible for the DWP and the Home Office, as they reported data covering each calendar year rather than the financial year. DWP reported 97 losses in 2011 and 48 for 2012. The Home Office mislaid 53 items in 2011; however four of these were recovered. They did not provide data for 2012.

The Northern Ireland Office reported no equipment losses at all for the period. The Wales Office said that there had been one such loss, and the Scotland Office reported four losses.

Shadow Cabinet Office Minister Gareth Thomas MP said, “It’s incredible that so many computers, blackberries and other pieces of IT equipment have been lost.
“With hundreds of pieces of IT equipment being lost across Whitehall, and over a thousand pieces missing at the MOD alone, Ministers should be doing all they can to make sure vital equipment and data are kept secure.”

Ultimate Mobile Data Security – Perfect for the forgetful secret agent…the memory stick that self-destructs by remote control

A data protection company has come up with the perfect piece of kit for the spy who’s more Johnny English than James Bond.

ExactTrak Ltd has developed a memory stick that can be tracked by GPS if it becomes separated from its owner – and can even be destroyed by remote control.

The memory stick, called Security Guardian, is slightly larger than your garden variety device and includes an encrypted memory chip and a SIM card, which means that it can be tracked by GPS and GSM triangulation.

Data protection: ExactTrak's Security Guardian includes a SIM card, so that the memory stick can be tracked if it becomes separated from its owner

Data protection: ExactTrak’s Security Guardian includes a SIM card, so that the memory stick can be tracked if it becomes separated from its owner

If sensitive information is on board the stick when it is misplaced or stolen, the owner has a variety of ways of disabling or destroying information so that it cannot be viewed or shared.

Owners can sign in to their account and block files and information. Alternatively, they can text a specific code to the stick itself, which will disable the device or lock the files within.

And, if all else fails, users can send a high-voltage charge directly into the stick, melting the internal chip and erasing everything contained on it.

Tracking device: The memory stick can be located by GPS and GSM triangulation. But if that's not good enough, files can be blocked or deleted via remote control

Tracking device: The memory stick can be located by GPS and GSM triangulation. But if that’s not good enough, files can be blocked or deleted via remote control

Killer blow: If all else fails, users can send a high-voltage charge directly to the memory stick, frying the internal chip and obliterating all information on it

Killer blow: If all else fails, users can send a high-voltage charge directly to the memory stick, frying the internal chip and obliterating all information on it

This killer bolt can be delivered without an internet connection – regardless of whether the device is connected to a computer or not.

The growing interest in data protection follows a number of high-profile cases where sensitive Government information was left on public transport – including a case in 2009 when a Government contractor lost a memory stick containing the information of 84,000 prisoners.

A 2008 report found that more than 3,200 laptops and mobile phones containing sensitive information had been lost or stolen from government departments.

In their sales pitch, ExactTrak claims that 65 per cent of recorded data losses are due to laptops and USB memory devices that go missing.

In a survey by the Ponemon Institute for Intel, 56 per cent of IT managers admitted that they turned off or disable their encryption. A further 35 per cent admitted to sharing passwords with colleagues.

ExactTrak is currently working with Government and corporate clients, developing a range of products that provide mobile data security and asset recovery.

But it’s not reserved for security services, ExactTrak’s website says: ‘Location monitoring and data security services can be delivered either via secure access to our monitoring platform, hosted on the Fujitsu Global Cloud Platform, or can be located within your organisation behind your own firewall.

 

 

Data losses on USB sticks – it’s raining again

The problem of lost USB sticks has been back in the news recently with data losses moving from laptops to the storage devices.

In January, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and the Office of the Data Protection Supervisor (ODPS) for the Isle of Man jointly criticised Praxis Care after an unencrypted memory stick was lost last year. It contained personal information relating to 107 Isle of Man residents and 53 individuals from Northern Ireland.

Last week, the details of more than 1,000 school pupils were lost when a USB stick was misplaced by a member of East Lothian Council.

It was at the end of 2009 that I looked back at ‘a tricky 12 months for the USB stick’ when it was blamed for data loss and Conficker. While the problem has not been eradicated completely, it does seem to be slipping back somewhat.

I recently spoke with a new company offering what it calls the ‘Fort Knox’ of USB memory sticks: I know what you are thinking, heard it all before. Well what caught my attention was that this was less a memory stick and more a tracking device, with GPS and GSM modules to track where it is and deliver this information securely to a management console hosted securely on Fujitsu’s Global Cloud Platform.

It also features remote wipe capabilities of any data on the device, whether it’s plugged in to a USB socket or not.

Named Security Guardian, creator ExactTrak said that its inbuilt software is linked to an online monitoring platform that protects against the biggest problem with mobile data security: human error.

Managing director Norman Shaw told SC Magazine that Security Guardian is been adopted by users due to it being encryption technology-agnostic and available with either 16 or 32GB storage.

He said: “We applied intelligent elements to communicate with the device and we can turn the device on or off and delete the memory. We can know where it is geographically.
“We met with the ICO and they said that it is all very well having encryption but 50 per cent of people share passwords. One of the technologies on this is that if you share a password, you can remotely remove or turn data off. A problem is that data losses are often not reported for months; we say this can overcome the stigma of losing data by saying ‘we lost the device but we deleted the contents of it’.”

Shaw said that this is sold not as a product but as a service, and a recent partnership with Fujitsu saw its Global Cloud Platform selected to host the back-end infrastructure.

The heart of the Security Guardian solution is the management console which provides remote access to the devices and maintains a verifiable audit trail detailing when and where data was accessed. ExactTrak said it needed a partner that could host the management console while providing the utmost levels of security, scalability and availability, and it selected Fujitsu’s Global Cloud Platform as a secure portal and because it could offer “global scalability almost instantly”.

Shaw said: “Once data is on the device it is encrypted. We have Trusted Client technology from Becrypt and the cloud capability from Fujitsu and it is all dynamic data on the device, so what is on there is secure.”

In my recent conversation with Thales, it was suggested that technology should make encryption transparent, and “if you know you are using it then it has gone wrong”. I asked Shaw if he felt there was a problem with encrypted data and that people were not using it.

He said: “Some people realise the problem of encryption, so how do you prove that it was turned on? You say that a laptop was encrypted, but then it appears on eBay and it turns out that it wasn’t encrypted at all.

“With our solution you can say that the data was turned on or off on the management console with a verifiable audit trail and the ICO can say the matter is closed.”

There are solutions out there to prevent data loss and most of them offer different levels of security and capability, and what ExactTrak offers is certainly different – the capability to react after the incident.

Original article from SC Magazine  Feb 2012

Ultimate data protection with Security Guardian

Security Guardian is already recognised as the Fort Knox of USB Flash Drives due to its ability to allow data to be deleted even when not connected to a laptop or the internet.

Security Guardian data protection and information security can now be further enhanced by the complete range of Becrypt CAPS, CESG and FIPS approved encryption products. This includes a range of encryption products that cover the complete spectrum of governemnt approved security levels as well as Trusted Client.

Trusted Client is a self-contained encrypted environment that allows employees to connect to an organisation’s network and data whilst preventing data loss and leakage. This secure isolated environment provides access to a corporation’s existing VPN infrastructure as well as backend applications such as Windows desktops and Microsoft applications.

Go further and control what devices can be used to connect to your laptops. In conjunction with Becrypt’s Advanced Port Control, you can prevent any unauthorised device connection except Security Guardian. This will mean that when data is transferred to a Security Guardian you will always know where it is, thanks to the embedded GPS System. Data on Security Guardian can be remotely deleted, even when not connected to a laptop, thanks to the internal battery.

Full product details can be found on our resourse pages.

 

There but for the grace of…

There have been a lot of words written about the hacking of the RSA network and the possible breach of its seed generating system and possible customer compromise. Let’s face it, RSA has been seen to be a quality benchmark adopted by countless corporate organisations.

You can get a glimpse of the worry & concern felt by the IT Security and support teams by looking at the posts on The Register.

Clearly, the fact that RSA have a problem is one thing but what comes across clearly is that communication out to their thousands of customers has been slow, unconvincing and unhelpful. The proposed solution of disabling remote access suggests that many corporations should put their business on hold.

One can only wonder what would be the effect of having a mandatory disclosure clause inserted into the SLA so that companies would work with RSA to finds a way around the problem that enables business to learn collectively from events like this and implement agreed cross party solutions.

Are your affected by the RSA problem?
What would you do?