Looking back at 2012 Data Breaches: RBS and OSF release QuickView report

Risk Based Security and the Open Security Foundation released a report this morning, Data Breach QuickView: An Executive’s Guide to Data Breach Trends in 2012. The report summarizes some of the major statistics for 2012, based on analysis of the incidents compiled in OSF’s DataLossDB.  As most readers know by now, I am involved in DataLossDB project, and I contributed to the writing of this report.

From the 2012 at a Glance:

  • The 2,644 incidents represent a 117.3% increase over the previous high mark recorded in 2011.
  • Over 267 million records were exposed. Over 150 million records were exposed in a single incident (Shanghai Roadway), setting a new record for number of records exposed in a breach or data loss incident.
  • The Business sector accounted for 60.6% of reported incidents, followed by Government (17.9%), Education (12.0%), and Medical (9.5%).
  • The Business sector accounted for 84.7% of the number of records exposed, followed by Government (12.6%), Education (1.6%), and Medical (1.1%).
  • The Data Services industry accounted for just 0.3% of incidents, but 56.2% of exposed records.
  • 76.8% of reported incidents were the result of external agents or activity outside the organization:
    • Hacking accounted for 68.2% of incidents and remained the #1 breach type for the second consecutive year. Hacking accounted for 22.8% of exposed records in 2012.
    • 7.3% of reported incidents involved a third party. These incidents accounted for 6.2% of the exposed records.
  • Insiders accounted for 19.5% of incidents and 66.7% of exposed records:
    • Insider wrong-doing accounted for 7.1% of reported incidents and 56.8% of exposed records.
    • Insider errors accounted for 8.9% of incidents and 5.1% of exposed records.
  • Breaches involving U.S. entities accounted for 40.7% of the incidents reported and 25.0% of the records exposed.
  • Individuals’ names, passwords, email addresses, and other miscellaneous data were exposed in nearly 45% of reported incidents. In combination, this data is more than enough information to commit identity fraud on a large scale.
  • 14.4% of breaches included a Social Security Number or Non-US Equivalent.
  • After removing the single incident of 150 million and any incidents for which we do not have the number of records exposed, on average, 55,863 records were exposed per incident in 2012.

You can download the report here.  A more detailed analysis of the 2012 incidents will be available in a fuller report to be released next month.

Some of the statistics may appear to conflict with others’ reports or findings. As always, differences in methodology are important to appreciate, as is the impact of state laws on breach disclosures. As one example, the majority of state breach notification laws often only apply to electronic records, not paper.  The 2012 statistics, then, may be a significant underestimate for breaches involving paper records and for sectors such as the Education sector where FERPA does not require breach notification and where state laws may or may not require notification under a “harm” threshold.

About the author: Dissent

Comments are closed.