2016 was a record-breaking year for the United States—but not in the ways you'd hope. From 2015 to 2016, there was a 40 percent increase in the number of reported data breaches, bringing last year's total to 1,093.1 Many more, however, go unreported each year.
You've likely heard the term in recent headlines, but what exactly does "data breach" mean? In its simplest form, a data breach is when an individual's information or device has been accessed or used without permission to do so, often through malware, hacking or phishing scams, in which an employee is tricked into providing access to the corporate server in an email.1 The types of information and the ways it is used can vary greatly depending on the specific incident or the motivation for theft.
Many of the 2016 data breaches resulted in millions of individuals' social security numbers and user account information being stolen, and this pattern has continued in more recent attacks—though more and more data breaches now target institutions with very sensitive data, like hospitals and healthcare facilities.1
As security experts work towards better solutions to tackle this growing issue, you may be wondering what you can do to protect yourself from being vulnerable to personal data theft. Find out how to safeguard your devices by reviewing our list of tips below.
Nervous about cyberinsecurities? Read up on currently known cyberthreats, or learn more about what you can do to keep your information safe from cybercriminals.
1 Kharif, O. (January 2017). 2016 Was a Record Year for Data Breaches. Retrieved on May 15, 2017, from bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-01-19/data-breaches-hit-record-in-2016-as-dnc-wendy-s-co-hacked