One in Three Massachusetts Residents’ Records Breached

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Robert Siciliano

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Massachusetts has one of the most stringent data protection laws on the books.

Businesses are required to disclose data breaches, and companies are now reporting when even a single individual’s information has been compromised.

Despite strict laws and security requirements, companies are continually being hacked in record numbers.

And if major businesses still being hacked despite allocating significant resources to securing their data, you’re more than likely at least as vulnerable.

The Boston Globe reports: “Personal information from nearly one out of three Massachusetts residents, from names and addresses to medical histories, has been compromised through data theft or loss since the beginning of 2010, according to statistics released yesterday by the office of Attorney General Martha Coakley.”

Facts:

  • Since January 2010, 1,166 data breach notices have been filed
  • 480 of those breaches occurred between January and August of 2011
  • 2.1 million residents were affected
  • 25% involved deliberate hacking of computer systems containing sensitive data

This is just Massachusetts. Every other state is experiencing the same thing. According to Juniper Research, in the past year, 90% of organizations have suffered from some form of data breach. Since the start of 2011, there have been 365 data loss incidents involving 126,727,474 records around the world.

Keeping PCs and Macs updated with antivirus and anti-spyware software is fundamental, as is updating all critical security patches.

You should also have a two-way firewall monitoring incoming and outgoing traffic, and strong passwords that combine upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and preferably other characters.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to Home Security Source discussing identity theft on YouTube.

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