Verizon Study Slams Companies for Failing to Protect Sensitive Data

Companies of all shapes and sizes continue to leave sensitive data easily accessible by failing to use simple safety measures, and research reveals that data breaches are taking weeks or longer to discover.

Data from 855 incidents indicate that almost all of the attacks (96 percent) were not tough to pull off, according to the 2012 Data Breach Investigations Report from Verizon Business. The report revealed that 174 million records were compromised over the past year, compared to just 4 million the year before.

About 85 percent of these breaches took weeks or more to discover, and a number of those too much longer.

In addition, 92 percent of these incidents were discovered by third parties, and 97 percent could have been avoided by simple controls like changing passwords on a regular basis and using firewall or access-control lists on servers.

On the other hand, the report also revealed some positive news. Only 4 percent of company employees were likely behind the breaches, which is down 13 percent since last year. There were fewer breaches involving physical attacks and social media tactics this year, and attackers are usually not going after specific people;79 percent of the victims were simply targets of opportunity.

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