cyber securityThe volume of reported data breach incidents in the U.S. hit a new high last year, with at least some caused by improper disposal of information.

According to the 2017 Data Breach Report from the California-based nonprofit group Identity Theft Resource Center, 1,579 breaches were reported last year, up 45 percent year over year. The increased number may have been driven largely by more reporting by affected organizations.

“We’ve seen the number of identified breaches increase as a result of industries moving toward more transparency,” Eva Velasquez, president and CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center, stated in the report.

Most of the breaches occurred as a result of hacking, or about 60 percent of them. Fewer were the result of improper disposal or other categories. Specifically, the category that includes improper disposal accounted for 10.4 percent of all breaches last year (this category also tracks data loss as a result of employee error, negligence and loss. Additionally, “improper disposal” could relate to mishandled paper records, not just digital storage devices.)

But the “Employee Error/Negligence/Improper Disposal/Loss” breaches were particularly damaging. They exposed nearly 146 million records, or 82 percent of all records exposed last year. Almost all of those records were exposed from the business sector, with far fewer records exposed from the medical/healthcare industry, banking/credit/financial institutions, government/military and educational organizations.

ID theft protection company CyberScout helps fund the report.

Photo credit: welcomia/Shutterstock

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