Access and Feeds

Security: 95 Percent of US Public Companies Have Been Hacked

By Dick Weisinger

Data breaches have become a common occurrence.  Almost everyone in the US has been a target of one or knows someone who has.  Companies are slowly realizing potential loss of revenues and reputation that can occur as a result of data breaches.

Tatyana Shumsky in a Wall Street Journal article highlighted some surprising hacking statistics:

  • 95 percent of the 9000 publicly listed companies in the US have reported to the SEC that they have been hacked at least once since 2010, based on information from Audit Analytics
  • Globally, companies spent $86 billion in 2015 to defend themselves against cyberattacks and that’s expected to grow to $96 billion this year, based on information from Gartner.

A report by Gemalto found there there were 974 data breaches in the first part of 2016 compared to 844 in the second half of 2015.  The number of attacks has been growing at a rate of about 18 percent annually.  The healthcare sector has been targeted in more than a quarter of the breaches and attacks on the government have yielded more than half of the actual records stolen.

But as breaches grow in number, more work needs to be done in order to identify and classify the severity of the damage caused.  It can be difficult to know exactly what data was accessed and what data was stolen.  Often signs of improper access to data only show up much later than when the incident originally occurred.  Some breaches can be classified as ‘nuisance’ breaches while others can be considered ‘severe’.

Jason Hart, CTO of Gemalto, said that “a breach involving 100 million user names is not as severe as a breach of one million accounts with social security numbers and other personally identifiable information that are used for financial gain.”

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