Data breaches cause amount of records exposed to double

Data breaches cause amount of records exposed to double

Many businesses have increased their data security efforts during the past year, but cybercriminals remain ahead of protection plans as data breach damage has already doubled this year compared to 2010.

According to a study by Risk Based Security, the total number of records lost so far during 2011 is 176,385,870, after 88,473,589 were exposed throughout 2010.

Retail businesses face the greatest risk of data loss, as they accounted for nearly 50 percent of all information security breaches and about 25 percent of all records lost, the report said. Additionally, the medical industry was responsible for 31 percent of all breaches, a 6 percent increase from last year.

Hackers caused just 25 percent of breaches, but damage from their attacks exposed 84 percent of all records surrendered, the source said.

The study concluded that data breaches are clearly escalating, and companies, especially retail businesses, must more accurately analyze their data security spending based on specific weaknesses.

Not only has the frequency of data breaches skyrocketed, but their impact has also spiked. The U.S. Department of Defense was recently sued for breaching 4.9 million records, and the suit seeks $1,000 in damages per file. With the cost of security breaches now potentially in the billions, companies have even greater incentive to improve data security.