Top 5 sources leaking personal data

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Consider this: A staggering 767 million personal data records were compromised in 2014 – or more than 2 million every day of every week of every month of the year.

This was about 37 per cent more than the 561 million data records that were compromised in 2013.

According to a new report published by data leakage protection solutions firm InfoWatch, the trend of increased hacking and data compromises has been growing at an average 20 per cent per year ever since the company began recording and updating the report since 2004.

The latest InfoWatch report recorded 1,395 cases of confidential information leakage during 2014, 22 per cent higher than the 1,143 leaks recorded in 2013.

It says that, in 92 per cent of the 1,395 cases (or 1,283 cases), the leaks were related to personal data. In its latest report, the firm has listed the top sources from where your personal information can be and is leaked.

#1 Junior company staff. The report states that more than half (54 per cent) of cases are attributed to company employees – inadvertently or as intentional actions. However, it adds that only 1 per cent of the data was leaked by senior executives at companies.

#2 Financial institutions. We have all suspected this at some point when we receive random calls from banks’ call centres, requesting us to go for a personal loan or ‘free for life’ credit card. Banks and other financial institutions are among the primary culprits responsible for leaking your personal information.

#3 Internet service providers. The global report maintains that internet providers too are to be blamed for personal data leaks.

#4 Retailers. If you’ve filled up a raffle voucher at a mall, hypermarket or retailer, that’s how you’ve been giving your personal details to retailers, and the report suggests that retailers too are among the top 5 sources from where personal data leaks.

#5 Healthcare institutions. Hard to digest, but hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions are a primary source of personal data leaks, according to the report.

On a larger scale, the report highlights the fact that 2014 registered 14 “mega-leaks”. Each such incident resulted in a leak of over 10 million personal data records – meaning 89% of all compromised data accrued to these “mega-leaks”.

“Our 2014 Global Data Leakage Report and the wealth of data found within it continue to shine light on the lack of sufficient data security measures being implemented globally,” says Natalya Kaspersky, CEO at InfoWatch Group of Companies.

“The annual reports InfoWatch has released over the past decade aim to raise awareness to the realities faced by our evolving world of Information Technology, and proper awareness is an important first step towards reversing the trends permanently,” she said.

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