It’s not just your credit card number that today’s cyber criminals are after. Theft of identities – encompassing a wide range of personal information — accounts for the majority of data breaches, according to a new global survey.
According to Gemalto’s 2015 Breach Level Index (BLI), identity theft accounted for 53% of all data breaches and 40% of “all compromised records” last year. The report also shows that more than 3.6 billion data records have been exposed since 2013 when the index began benchmarking publicly disclosed data breaches. In 2015, malicious outsiders were the leading perpetrators, accounting for 58% of breaches.
Jason Hart, vice president and chief technology officer for data protection at Gemalto, said of the findings: “In 2014, consumers may have been concerned about having their credit card numbers stolen … however, in 2015 criminals shifted to attacks on personal information and identity theft.”
The Federal Trade Commission also reported a 47 percent year-over-year increase in identity theft complaints and confirmed that, as has been the case for the preceding 15 years, complaints about identity theft remain among the top scams consumers report to the commission.
According to Javelin Strategy & Research, a research-based consulting firm, nearly 1 in 3 data breach victims will subsequently experience identity fraud. The firm reports that identity thieves have stolen $112 billion in the past six years. That equals $35,600 stolen per minute. In addition to financial losses, victims can suffer damage to their credit rating that could follow them for years.
As information on tens of millions of consumers affected by data breaches continues to fall in to the hands of cybercriminals, it is likely that millions more consumers will suffer from identity fraud in the future.
As businesses continue to collect personal data from their customers, subscribers, and users, trust becomes a huge factor in deciding where to do business. With the mounting number of data breaches occurring each year, companies who collect consumers’ data must do everything they can to protect it if they hope to keep their reputation and consumer trust in tact. Rock solid information security practices can become a competitive advantage – or it can sink you if you find yourself on the wrong side of a news story.
Are you doing everything you can to protect your customers’ data?