New York experienced record number of data breaches in 2016

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1.6 million New York residents had their personal records exposed due to data breaches in 2016, New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said.

New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced on Tuesday his office received a record number of data breach notices in 2016, increasing 60 percent from the previous year.

In 2016, 1.6 million New York residents had their personal records exposed because of data breaches, according to a statement from the state’s Office of the Attorney General. There were 1,300 reported breaches in 2016, per the statement.

“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,” Schneiderman said in the statement.

In 2016, hacking accounted for 40 percent of data security breaches in New York. Employee negligence also accounted for a large amount of the state’s data breaches last year, making up 37 percent of all of the breaches.

The most frequently stolen information from the breaches was Social Security numbers and financial account information, which together accounted for 81 percent of the state’s breaches, according to the statement. Other information stolen included driver’s license numbers, date of births and password and account information.

Aside from hacking and negligence accounting for the breaches, insider wrongdoing and the loss of a device or media also accounted for some of the data breaches.

Two mega-breaches also occurred in the state last year, according to the statement. Newkirk Products, Inc. reported exposing the personal health information of 761,782 New York residents in October, per the statement. HSBC bank also reported a mega-breach last year, per the release, which exposed the financial, personal and Social Security information of 761,782 residents.

The Attorney General’s office first began collecting information on the “exposure of personal data” in 2005, according to the statement.

Recent high-profile data breaches range from the hack of Yahoo, which compromised over 1 billion Yahoo accounts, to the hack of the United States Democratic National Committee during the 2016 election. Popular fast food chain Wendy’s also had a data breach last year, with a payment-card hack affecting 18 percent of their U.S. locations, according to Bloomberg.

In the statement, the office also outlined different ways business owners and state residents could protect themselves from data breaches. Schneiderman in the release recommended state residents carefully monitor credit and debit card statements each month and frequently change passwords for different online accounts, among other things, to decrease the possibility of data breaches.

Schneiderman added that residents should not write down or store passwords electronically in the release.

“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 in the release.


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