The Year Of The Mega Data Breach

Andy Greenberg reports:

Glance at 2009’s data breach statistics, and you might think the IT world had scored a rare win in the endless struggle against cybercrime.

According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, government agencies and businesses reported 435 breaches as of Nov. 17, on track to show a 50% drop from the number of breaches reported in 2008. That would make 2009 the first year that the number of reported data breaches has dropped since 2005, when the ITRC started counting.

But the decrease in data breaches is deceptive. In fact, the number of personal records that were exposed–data like Social Security numbers, medical records and credit card information tied to an individual–that hackers exposed has skyrocketed to 220 million records so far this year, compared with 35 million in 2008. That represents the largest collection of lost data on record. And the majority of 2009’s data loss stems from a single source: credit card processing firm Heartland Payment Systems.

Read more on Forbes.

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