In our previous blog post we looked at some of the costs associated with data breaches. Breaches typically fall into a few key categories, namely: Business, Educational, Health & Medical, Financial & Credit, and Government & Military,

The ID Theft Center or IDTC has been keeping track of these data breaches for the past 9 years. Currently 2013 falls in 3rd place in terms of total number of breaches at 614. The only two years with more data breaches were 2010 with 662 and 2008 with 656.

Out of the 614 breaches recorded last year, the result was a total of 57,868,922 records exposed and at risk. This in large part was due to the Target retail chain breach that took place during the busy holiday shopping season. Target accounted for more than two thirds of the breached records, totalling over 40 million accounts of stolen data. This included customer names, credit and/or debit card numbers stolen by these hackers. As a result of this breach, most banks issued new debit cards, put spending and withdraw limits on accounts, and have vastly increased their security monitoring to identify any suspicious activity. Since the breach, it has been revealed that another 70 million names and email addresses were comprised as well.

Another massive breach happened in November of 2013, barely a month before Target. The software company Adobe revealed that hackers had published data for a staggering 150 million of its customers. The well known security blog “Naked Security” claimed that Adobe did not encrypt its customers credit and debit card numbers leaving them completely vulnerable.

One of the interesting trends is that business related breaches rose considerably after 2007 to practically dominate the overall share of breaches. Equally concerning is that medical related breaches have also risen significantly over the past few years. Right now, medical and business related breaches are taking larger slices of the total pie and appear to be the fastest growing segments.

Today’s digital world offers a myriad of new online technologies which allow for countless modern conveniences. These in turn way create opportunities for cyber criminals intent on stealing private information. This dynamic demands a new definition of consumer data responsibility, as well as ethical policies for companies and corporations. More on this in a later blog.

The infographic below outlines some powerful breach statistics and identifies ways that businesses and consumers can better protect themselves.

Credit: The above infographic was sourced from