The non-profit Identity Theft Resource Center reports that improper disposal accounted for about 10% of last year’s increase in U.S. data breaches, but that these incidents cause disproportionate damage. According to the 2017 Data Breach Report, official accounts of overall data breaches rose 45% over 2016 to a total of 1,579 incidents.
While about 60% of the breaches were the result of hacking, the improper disposal category is notable because it tracks employee error, negligence and loss. Statistically, this category is especially damaging, exposing nearly 146 million records, a whopping 82 percent of the total. Almost all of those records were reported from the business sector, far more than medical/healthcare industry, banking/credit/financial institutions, government/military and educational organizations.
Of the five industry sectors that the ITRC tracks, the business category had the most breaches with 870 breaches, or 55%. The Banking/Credit/Financial sector moved into the top three categories for only the second time since 2005, with 8.5%.
According to president and CEO Eva Velasquez , some of the increase is the result of more organizations feeling compelled to report breaches. “We’ve seen the number of identified breaches increase as a result of industries moving toward more transparency,” said Valasquez.
CyberScout, an ID theft protection company, provided some funding for the report.