Data Breach Trends in the Financial Sector

Financial institutions are, it seems, doing a better job at protecting customer data than most industries. This is the conclusion one reaches when looking at the latest data in the Chronology of Data Breaches from the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.
Overall, the CDB has 2929 breaches in the 2005–2012 timeframe, involving 544,591,013 records (yup, more than a 1/2 billion records, or almost 1 for every 12.5 people on earth). This covers all industries and all types of breaches. However, in the Financial and Insurance Services sector, the breach total runs 415 (or about 14.2% of the overall) involving 248,136,049 records (or about 45.6% of the overall). We can get a more realistic picture if we remove the outlier event, the Heartland breach. This drops the number of lost records to about 118M, or about 28.5% of the overall. All this suggests the financial sector sees an outsized impact from data breaches when compared to other sectors.
So how is this good news? Well, let’s look again at the CDB data – but over time instead of in the aggregate. These graphs depict that while the number of breaches (bars | right axis) are bouncing around, the number of records impacted (line | left axis) are on a downward trend. This becomes more obvious when we remove the Heartland outlier event from the (continue reading…)

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