Data breaches in New York have tripled

Data breaches have hit a record high in the state of New York, with 900 breaches affecting 7.3 million people in 2013, according to records released by the state attorney general.

The New York Times notes that the rise in serious data breaches was driven by criminal attacks, with computer hackers “by far” the leading cause of data breaches, responsible for 40% of unauthorized data access in 2013.

Bloomberg’s Businessweek calculates that data breaches have tripled in the period 2006-2014, with “mega breaches” such as the Target data breach partially responsible.

Since 2005, New York law has required companies to notify the attorney general whenever a data breach has exposed private data such as social security numbers, driver’s license details, names and account numbers, according to the Westfield Republican.

Data breaches – hacking now biggest threat

“What’s truly shocking about this report, beyond the fact that hacking is now the greatest threat to our personal information and costs us billions of dollars, is that many of these breaches could have been prevented,” New York’’s attorney general, Eric T Schneiderman said in a statement.

Bloomberg News said that since 2006, New Yorkers had experienced 5,000 data breaches, exposing the records of 22.8 milllion New Yorkers in total.

‘Collaborative approach’ to data breaches

Apart from criminal attacks, the remainder of breaches suffered by New Yorkers were caused by loss or sale of equipment, employee errors, and insider attacks, according to Associated Press.

Schneiderman said, “Our expansive look at data breaches found that millions of New Yorkers have been exposed without their knowledge or consent.”

The attorney general said that his office would take a “collaborative approach to address the complex problems surrounding data security.” Bloomberg reports that Schneiderman said that “engaging industry stakeholders and security experts, as well as lawmakers” could offer new tools for protecting New Yorkers’ private information from data breaches.

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