There have been some high profile data breaches in this summer. Ashley Madison comes to mind. According to Kirsten Buck, data breaches in America reached an all-time high in 2014.
TopTenReviews created this infographic about the biggest data breaches of 2014.
Doing business online has so many advantages, but data crime is one big downside. And it comes with a big price tag for companies.
A 2014 report that surveyed companies about cyber security found that there is a gap between data breach perception and reality, "specifically regarding the potential revenue loss to their business and the value of confidential data," according to Info Security Magazine. "A full 80% of respondents say their company's leaders do not equate losing confidential data with a potential loss of revenue, even though the evidence is clear that data breaches have serious financial consequences for organizations."
Why can't we stop data breaches? According to an panel at the RSA Conference in San Francisco, "It's like the war on drugs. We can stop some problems, but the issue is getting bigger and we're getting worse at stopping it." Why? Because "there are so many levels of regress that it's an impossible task to stop all data breaches." And as long as there are reasons why people might want to snatch data, they'll figure out new ways to do it as technology changes. "You'll never stop the intent some people have to break in."
The largest data breach last year involved eBay and affected 145 million people. The other two big breaches were JPMorgan Chase and Home Depot, which affected 132 million individuals combined.
Buck says that the cost of data breaches is very high. "U.S. companies report losing $525 million annually to cybercrime," writes Buck. "The 2014 Cost of Data Breach Study: Global Analysis reported each record that was attacked cost roughly $201. This figure concludes that each breach of data has a price tag of $3.5 million."
The Home Depot data breach lasted for five months and involved 56 million cards. And it cost Home Depot about $62 million.
According to Buck, "Causes of data breaches include email filters that do not catch all malware and employees who click on phishing links and unencrypted emails. Some tactics that help companies to avoid such issues include using more than one anti-malware app and email encryption."