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What Is The Leading Cause Of Data Breaches?


While most media coverage of cybersecurity focuses on incidents caused be external attackers, these are in the relative minority according to a newly released study. Instead, it seems that organizations looking to guard against finding themselves the victims of such an occurrence should be looking in a different direction: their own employees.

This is not a new revelation, but it seems that previous suggestions have been been largely ignored or gone unnoticed. “In the news we hear a lot of stories about hackers who break into systems and steal our personal information,” said Philip Howard, professor of global communications at Central European University “But that was the minority of incidents: far and away, most of the cases were caused by organisational errors, insider abuse, or other internal mismanagement.” Underlining this view are the new findings that show an overwhelming 36% of breaches were caused by employee negligence; placing an emphasis on staff training. While the healthcare industry was affected most – largely due to strict data breach notification laws they must follow – no industry is immune from threats to its sensitive information.

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Interesting footnote: Not all security lapses covered in the report involved theft or hacking of electronic files; 21% specifically involved paper records.


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