Symantec cites big increase in major data breaches

With a new study out today, Mountain View security company Symantec offers more evidence that cyber crooks are getting increasingly sophisticated and hitting harder than ever before.

“The size and scope of breaches is exploding, putting the trust and reputation of businesses at risk, and increasingly compromising consumers’ personal information — from credit card numbers and medical records to passwords and bank account details,” the company notes in a press release. “Each of the eight top data breaches in 2013 resulted in the loss of tens of millions of data records. By comparison, 2012 only had a single data breach reach that threshold.”

Among the report’s worrisome details:

“In 2013, there was a 62 percent increase in the number of data breaches from the previous year, resulting in more than 552 million identities exposed,” it said.

In addition, Symantec said it found that “targeted attacks were up 91 percent and lasted an average of three times longer compared to 2012. Personal assistants and those working in public relations were the two most targeted professions — cybercriminals use them as a stepping stone toward higher-profile targets like celebrities or business executives.”

Photo courtesy of Symantec

Steve Johnson Steve Johnson (243 Posts)

Steve Johnson covers the microchip industry, cyber security and the big-technology sector that includes Hewlett-Packard, Oracle and Cisco Systems.