British data breaches increase tenfold

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British data breaches increase tenfold

Record breaches and fines.

Security company Imation has found that the number of self-reported data breaches in the United Kingdom has skyrocketed since 2007, in some instances by over a thousand percent.

According to a report in Computer Business Review, figures from the UK Data Protection and Information Commissioner's Office — obtained under freedom of information — show that local government data breaches increased by a staggering 1609 percent over the last five years.

Other public organisations recorded a 1380 percent rise, whereas private organisations noted a 1159 percent hike in data leaks.

On average across the eight sectors it looked at, Imation figures the increase is 1014 percent.

Nick Banks of Imation Mobile Security, who filed the FoI request, called the massive increase in data breaches in just five years "fairly startling" and added that "perhaps more alarming is the consistent year-on-year increase in data breaches since 2007."

Only the telecommunications sector recorded a decrease in data breaches, seeing none last year and only nine over the past five years.

Although the UK Information Commissioner (ICO) has the power since 2010 to levy financial penalties on organisations and collected £2 million ($3.07 million) up to July 2012, a three-fold increase on the previous year, these seem to have little effect, Banks said.

To some degree, the increase in data breaches is explained by a huge rise in data volumes being stored and the introduction of mandatory reporting, according to Banks, but with the technology available to do so, "there really is no excuse for failing to adequately protect data."

Latest full year figures from the ICO show that 821 data breaches took place in the UK in 2011-2012 and that the privacy watchdog issued 68 warnings, up 48 percent from the 46 it handed out the year before.

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