Reports examine causes, victims of data breaches

Reports examine causes, victims of data breaches
Reports examine causes, victims of data breaches 

By Robert Vamosi
Defense in Depth
June 11, 2008

On Wednesday, Verizon Business released a four-year study [1] concluding 
that 9 out of 10 corporate data breaches could have been prevented, had 
appropriate security measures been taken. The Verizon report includes 
the results of more than 5,000 forensic investigations, including three 
of the largest data breaches ever reported.

Meanwhile, the Identity Theft Resource Center released its 2007 report 
on identity theft [2], offering comparisons to data it's collected over 
the last five years.

Verizon found that 73 percent of the data breaches were the result of 
outside sources, with only 18 percent from insider threats. Of the 
outside sources, 39 percent were attributed to business partners. Third 
parties, not victimized organizations, discovered 75 percent of the 

Attack methods vary around the world, Verizon found. Attacks from Asia, 
China and Vietnam in particular, often involve application exploits. 
Attacks from the Middle East involve site defacements. And attacks from 
Eastern Europe and Russia involve point-of-sale compromises.

The ITRC report looks at the other side: the impact of identity fraud on 
its victims. In 2007, 57 percent of stolen information was used to open 
a new line of credit, while 13 percent was used to order cable and or 
other utility services.

Eighty-two percent of the victims learned of the theft through creditors 
or collection agencies, up from 76 percent a year ago. Only 10 percent 
found out through proactive measures, with 8 percent identifying 
something on their credit reports.

More disturbing, 62 percent of the respondents to the ITRC survey 
reported that thieves had committed crimes, such that warrants were 
issued in the victim's name.


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