UK data breaches skyrocket more than 1,000%

According to the data, secured by Imation, local government data breaches have increased by 1,609%, making it the No. 1 target, while other public sector organizations were a close second (1,380%). Not to be outdone, the private sector logged a 1,159% increase.

On a federal level, data breaches at the National Health Service have increased by 935% and central government incidents are up by 132%.

“The massive increase in data breaches in just five years is fairly startling,” said Nick Banks, head of EMEA and APAC for Imation Mobile Security, “but perhaps more alarming is the consistent year-on-year increase in data breaches since 2007. The figures obtained from the ICO by Imation seem to show that increasing financial penalties have had little effect on the amount of data breaches each year.”

To get a full picture, however, the actual numbers are elucidating. There were 11 local government data breaches from November 2007 to November 2008, which has grown to 188 in 2012 – 59 of them in the second quarter. But the NHS had the most incidents in the second quarter of 2012 with 61 breaches. General business came in third with 26 breaches.

Telecom actually delivered a decrease in the number of data breaches from year to year, the only category to do so, falling from six breaches to zero from 2010 to 2011.

“Undoubtedly there are some mitigating circumstances which have contributed to the rise in annual data breach numbers, such as the introduction of mandatory reporting in certain sectors, plus the increasing amounts of data being stored and accessed", Banks said. “But none of these factors obscures the clear trend of constant increases.”

So far there have been 821 data breaches in the UK in 2011/2012, which Banks said is “deeply worrying.”
“Organizations must take responsibility for preventing breaches, and with so much available technology there really is no excuse for failing to adequately protect data,” he said.

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