220 Million Personal Data Records Exposed So Far This Year

A new article by Andy Greenberg for Forbes reports a shocking 220 million personal data records containing highly sensitive information have been exposed by hackers so far this year.

Add to this the (reported) personal data records breached in security breaches in the US since Jan. 2005 and over 341,742,628 sensitive personal data records have now been compromised according to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse that tracks breaches. The data exposed includes Social Security numbers, medical records, and credit card/banking information, as well as addresses, phone numbers, etc.

NOTE: Though the total US population today is roughly 310 million, it does not mean everyone’s records – and then some – have been exposed. Some people may have had their records breached multiple times, while others may not have been exposed. However, the likelihood that your data has been compromised is now staggering.

What does this mean to you?

  1. Be diligent in monitoring your financial and medical identities. This information has significant value to criminals and they will exploit any information they acquire. Learn how to protect your identity, get free credit reports, freeze your credit, and more in my blogs:
    1. Protect your credit: one free step towards peace of mind
    2. Stay Safer – Place a Security Freeze on Your Credit
    3. ShieldSafe: ID Theft Protection Reminder Service
  2. Understand the scope of the problem by reading these blogs:
    1. 130 Million Credit and Debit Card Numbers Stolen – Is Yours Secure?
    2. 11 Things an Online Criminal Will Never Tell You
  3. Be wary of allowing additional information about yourself be placed online before better security standards are in place. Your medical records are perhaps your biggest new threat area, learn how in these blogs;
    1. HHS Issue Notification Rules for Personal Health Record Breaches – But What Prevents Breaches?
    2. Online Medical Fraud: New Tools for Old Scams
    3. Risks of Placing Medical Records Online
  4. Demand better security and accountability of the companies, institutions, and government agencies holding your records.
    1. Internal security measures need to be in place to:
      1. Block dishonest employees from making off with records
      2. Prohibit employees to take records away from the secure facility – in laptops, flash drives, etc. that can be stolen, “lost” or otherwise compromised.
      3. Train employees in security measures – and continually test that these are upheld
      4. Ensure all sensitive information is encrypted rendering it useless to those without the necessary key
      5. Increase defenses against hackers, with stronger security measures and multi-tiered layers
    2. National security standards need to be strengthened to:
      1. Increase penalties to companies with data breaches
      2. Increase speed of notification to consumers affected by data breaches
      3. Increase assistance to consumers affected by data breaches

Stay diligent,

Linda

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