[JURIST] The number of data breaches and files stolen worldwide reached a record high in 2016, according to cyber security firm Risk Based Security [corporate website] Monday. Inga Goddijn [official Twitter], Risk Based Security's vice president, stated [UPI report] that "while the number of data breaches actually remained relatively flat from last year, the big story coming out of 2016 is obviously the massive increase in the number of records exposed." The report [text, PDF] by Risk Based Security revealed that breaches at FriendFinder Networks, Myspace and Yahoo accounted for more than 2.2 billion records compromised and that Yahoo alone reported 500,000 records breached in one incident and more than a billion in another. The US and Britain represented more than half of all data breach cases reported last year. Less than 20 percent of breaches were the result of insider activity, and hacking continued to dominate as the leading breach type. Stolen laptops, which were once a primary cause of data compromise, accounted for only 1.6 percent of breaches.
A data breach is the intentional or unintentional release of secure or confidential information to an untrusted environment. Breaches can be associated with organized crime or political activism. The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act [text] was enacted in 1986 to protect against federal computer hacking. Possible hackings have caused serious concern in recent years.
Earlier this month, a bipartisan group of 10 US Senators introduced legislation [JURIST report] aimed at implementing mandatory sanctions against Russia for its involvement in cyber hacking during the 2016 presidential election. Last month, the Manhattan US Attorney announced [JURIST report] charges against three foreign nationals for insider trading, wire fraud, intentional damage, unlawful access, and related conspiracy acts.