According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, 395 data breaches occurred in the U.S. during the first half of 2014 – a 21% increase over the same period in 2013. This figure only represents breaches reported to regulators or covered by media outlets. The actual number of attacks is likely far greater.
Cyber attacks result from lax data security practices. In addition, computers and devices containing sensitive information have become prime targets for thieves. The data stored on stolen hardware, which is often inadequately protected, can be easily accessed.
Recently, a prime industry target for hackers is healthcare, with small businesses in the healthcare chain being particularly vulnerable. Since healthcare organizations do business with numerous vendors, it has difficulty controlling security at every company location.
For example, large hospitals work with hundreds and even thousands of vendors who have access to their data. A recent survey on IT security in healthcare uncovered troubling activity – the majority of healthcare vendors lack minimum security and are ill-prepared to ward off security attacks.
Healthcare organizations must establish minimum levels of security for its vendors and hold them accountable. Proven security practices need to be developed to curb the growth in targeted breaches.
In addition to healthcare, an article appearing in CIO Insight found attacks were aimed at energy, financial and retail industries, as well as critical infrastructure. The increase of mobile application usage is creating challenges for IT professionals in these industries and others who are trying to maintain the highest levels of data security.
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