According to a recent statement released by the New York State Attorney General, New York experienced a record number of data breaches in 2013. 900 data breaches hit a variety of public and private organization, exposing personal information of 7.3million New Yorkers. According to the New York Times:
The report, which showed the effects of data security intrusions on New Yorkers over the past eight years, said computer hackers were by far the leading cause of the breaches, accounting for nearly 40 percent of unauthorized data access during that time.
In 2013 alone, the breaches cost the public and private sectors more than $1.37 billion, the report said. Losses were calculated by assuming that a data breach costs an affiliated company approximately $188 for each person whose data was compromised, a figure published in a 2013 report by the security company Symantec and the Ponemon Institute, which researches information security.
While these figures are just for the State of New York, they reflect a growing issue in the United States. Namely, cyber-crime and large-scale data breaches are becoming increasingly common. This means that consumers now must be aware of the potential dangers, such as the loss of personal information, that can be associated with these breaches. In order to combat this, consumers should follow smart practices when using online programs that require personal information. Following simple steps, such as those outlined by the FTC, will help consumers be able to keep their information safe.
As stated, cyber-crime is a growing problem in the U.S. and around the world. While many large organizations are working on how to stop this phenomenon, the average consumer can do little to actively stop the threat. Rather, consumers must remain vigilant with regards to their personal information while online in order to help ensure that if a data breach does occur, their information has the best chance of staying secure.
Read More- “Data Breaches in New York Hit Record High in 2013, State Attorney General Says” (Mike Isaac, The New York Times)