The health care industry is expected to be hackers’ most heavily targeted sector in 2017, according to the latest “Data Breach Industry Forecast” from Experian. The explanation is simple: personal medical data is among the most valuable kinds of information to target because once the data is made inaccessible, health care officials will pay handsomely to get it back.
These so-called ransomware attacks may also metastasize from blocking a provider’s access to patient information and then selling them the key to reopen the data, to selling the data itself on the dark web or leveraging it for identity theft. In other words, as bad as things have been in 2016, they are going to get much worse next year.
Experian also noted four other trends for 2017:
Aftershock password breaches such as the ones that hit LinkedIn, Dropbox and Yahoo earlier this year.
Nation-state cyberattacks will widen from espionage to war.
Criminal focus will shift to payment-based attacks using skimming devices on the new chip-card readers that retailers began adopting this year.
International data breaches will complicate the operations of multinational companies due to the wide variety of laws and regulations related to computer data.
The Experian report is available from its website with free registration.
The latest data breach count from the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) reports that there have been 957 breaches recorded this year through December 6, 2016, and that more than 35 million records have been exposed since the beginning of the year. The total number of reported breaches increased by 56 since ITRC’s last report on November 22.
The number of breaches in 2015 totaled 781, just two shy of the previous record 783 breaches that ITRC tracked in 2014. The 957 data breaches reported so far for 2016 are more than 30% higher than the number reported (734) for the same period last year. A total of more than 169 million records were exposed in 2015.
Here’s a rundown of the latest ITRC report:
The medical/health care sector leads all others in the number of records compromised to date in 2016. The sector has posted 36.4% (348) of all data breaches this year. The number of records exposed in these breaches tops 15.3 million, or about 43.7% of the total so far in 2016.
The government/military sector has suffered 65 data breaches so far this year, representing about 37.1% of the total number of records exposed and 6.8% of the incidents. Over 13 million records have been compromised in the government/military sector to date.
The business sector accounts for more than 5.6 million exposed records in 420 incidents. That represents 43.9% of the incidents and 16.1% of the exposed records.
The number of banking/credit/financial breaches totals 42 for the year to date and involves about 72,000 records, some 4.4% of the total number of breaches and about 0.2% of the records exposed.
The educational sector has seen 82 data breaches in 2016. The sector accounts for 8.6% of all breaches for the year and more than 1 million exposed records, about 2.9% of the total so far this year.
Since beginning to track data breaches in 2005, ITRC had counted 6,766 breaches through December 6, 2016, involving more than 886 million records.