In the worst year ever for data breaches, 740 million records were exposed

Angela Cheong
Jan. 28, 2014 by Angela Cheong

Data Privacy Day is a timely reminder for all organizations to reflect upon their data security or data breach protection, especially so with the release of the 2014 Data Protection & Breach Readiness Guide by the Online Trust Alliance. The report discovered that 2013 was the year with the highest recorded number of data breaches, with an estimated 740 million records being exposed. Other notable data breach statistics:

  • 89% of data breach incidents could have been avoided with simple security best practices
  • 40% of the largest data breaches recorded took place in 2013
  • 76% of the data breaches were due to weak or stolen credentials

Exposed records included credit card numbers, email addresses, log in credentials, social security numbers and other personal information, leaving both individuals and business open to significant financial harm.

The guide provided 10 Questions of Risk Assessment so readers could do a quick self audit of whether they were prepared for a data breach. It also provided 8 data security best practices that businesses should implement today.

  • Email authentication through the implementation of SPF, DKIM and DMARC
  • Implementation of Secure Socket Layer (SSL) for all data collection
  • Upgrading to Extended Validation SSL (EVSSL) certificates for all commerce and banking applications
  • Reviewing all password management policies and support for two-factor authentication
  • Encrypting data and disks
  • Encrypting communication with wireless devices
  • Default disabling of shared folders, multilayered firewall protection etc.
  • Creating a BYOD Plan and policy

The plan also covered data breach incident response planning, a topic that Craig Spiezle, President of Online Trust Alliance spoke about in our annual digital messaging conference in 2013. When preparing for a data breach, it is vital for businesses to:

  • Create an Incident Response Team
  • Establish vendor and law enforcement relationships
  • Have a communication plan
  • Take into consideration international data breach notification laws

In order to benchmark and encourage adoption of data security best practices, the Online Trust Alliance publishes an Online Trust Honor Roll audit every year, of which Message Systems was proud to be listed in 2013. As a member of the Online Trust Alliance, we take our role in educating the industry about email authentication and DMARC seriously. In the past year, we’ve hosted a webinar about The Benefits of DMARC Email Authentication, published an e-Book on How DMARC Is Saving Email, as well as numerous blog posts about DMARC, SPF and DKIM. We’ve also released a free email validation tool called The Validator, which is a free DKIM validation, DMARC Validator and SPF checker tool to test your email server for compliance and ensuring message delivery. In fact, if you are looking for an email software or email system that adheres to the DMARC standard, feel free to talk to our experts.

As stated in the 2014 Data Protection & Breach Readiness Guide:

Business leaders need to recognize if they collect sensitive data, they will realize a data loss incident. Not being prepared is a recipe for failure, and loss of consumer trust.

Want some additional information on DMARC email authentication? Watch the DMARC webinar by Groupon, ReturnPath and Message Systems!

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