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Unintended disclosure, paper records loss most common data breaches: Study

Unintended disclosure, paper records loss most common data breaches: Study

A study of more than 1,500 data breaches in 2013 and 2014 by a unit of Beazley P.L.C. reveals that the two most common sources of breaches are unintended disclosure and the physical loss of paper records.

The analysis said untended consequences, such as misdirected emails and faxes, accounted for 31% of the data breaches, while the loss of paper records, which is particularly prevalent among health care organizations, accounted for 24% of the total.

Results of the analysis were announced Thursday at a conference of the International Association of Privacy Professionals in San Jose, California.

The analysis also found that breaches due to malware or spyware represented only 11% of the 2013 and 2014 breaches, although they have been increasing, with the total number of breaches in this category growing by 20% between 2013 and 2014.

Beazley said in its statement on the analysis that because of heavy forensics costs, these breaches are on average 4.5 times more costly than the cost of unintended disclosure.

“With more information being stored electronically and in the cloud, the risk of data breaches is growing,” said Katherine Keefe, Philadelphia-based head of Beazley Breach Response Services, in the statement. “Consumers expect their privacy will be protected, and a data breach can have serious reputational and financial impact.”

“The majority of data breaches are avoidable with appropriate training and security measures in place,” Ms. Keefe said.

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