A recent analysis of the past year’s data breaches by Imperva concludes that, in 2010, there has been a nearly 200% increase over 2009. Conversely, the number of records compromised shrank nearly 100% — from 230 million records in 2009 to 13 million records in 2010. These results are based upon information provided by the Privacy Clearinghouse (PRC), a nonprofit that tracks publicly disclosed U.S. data breaches http://bit.ly/dDYgxI.


  2009 2010 % Change
Data Breaches Reported 250 484 + 194%
Records Compromised 230 million 13 million – 95%



While these results may seem like good news at first glance, the real message for businesses is that they have to be more vigilant than ever when it comes to security and privacy issues. In large measure, the number of compromised records is down because hackers have fine-tuned the art of the steal.


Think of it this way. An amateur thief might come into your house and ransack it, stuffing everything within reach into a shopping bag.  A professional knows where to find the safe containing the jewelry, bonds and other real valuables and would only go after them.                               


Data is today’s richest currency.  As it grows in value so does the technical sophistication and savvy of today’s cyber thieves. In an economy based upon intellectual capital and information technology,   it’s essential to know how to protect information and respond to increasingly sophisticated and targeted data breaches, as well as the legal and the regulatory recourse available when this type of violation occurs.


Some final notes related to the above numbers … They only represent “publicly disclosed” breaches. It’s likely that unreported breaches would push these figures much higher. In addition, according to the Financial Times, for the first time ever worldwide data theft in 2010 surpassed physical losses for global companies http://bit.ly/dGVOna.