A record number of data breaches took place in New York in 2016.
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced that close to 1,300 reported data breaches in 2016 represent a 60 percent increase over the previous year.
“These breaches exposed the personal records of 1.6 million New Yorkers in 2016, representing a threefold increase over the prior year,” according to the release.
According to the Attorney General’s office, the exposed information was mainly social security numbers and financial account info, surmising that hacking and inadvertent disclosure were the leading causes of the breaches.
“Hacking is increasingly prevalent – making it all the more important for companies and citizens alike to take precaution when sharing and storing personal data,” Schneiderman said. “It’s on all of us to guard against those who try to use our personal information for harm – as these breaches too often jeopardize the financial health of New Yorkers and cost the public and private sectors billions of dollars.”
Forty-five percent of the breaches included loss of Social Security numbers.
Notably, employee negligence (inadvertent exposure of records, insider wrongdoing, loss of a device or media) nearly tied hacking and accounted for approximately 37 percent of the breaches, according to a chart included in the press release.
The biggest breaches of 2016 (for New Yorkers) were:
- Newkirk Products, Inc., a business associate of Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan, Inc., CDPHP Universal Benefits, Inc., and Capital District Physicians’ Healthcare Network, Inc., exposed the personal health information of 761,782 New Yorkers (reported on Oct. 12, 2016)
- HSBC bank exposed the financial, personal, and social security information of 251,201 New Yorkers (reported on January 13, 2016).
- Additionally, breaches at Eddie Bauer and Emblem Health reportedly affected 60,205 and 55,664 New Yorkers in August and November, respectively.
A CBS affiliate in Albany covered the story and interviewed Dr. Sanjay Goel, Director of UAlbany’s Cyber Security Center, who said hackers are increasingly targeting health care records because “the value of healthcare information is much higher than credit card information in the underground market because they can do all kinds of healthcare fraud and make false claims,” Dr. Goel said.
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