ICO records 17% increase in reported data security incidents

According to a new report released by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) the number of data security incidents increased by 17% in the final quarter of 2017.

The ICO figures are the last to be revealed before the GDPR legislation comes into force on May 25th  and showed that incidents increased to 957 in the fourth quarter of 2017 from the 815 recorded in the third quarter, marking the first month-on-month increase since the fourth quarter of 2016-17.

Dominating the main causes cited for the incidents were human errors. Over the course of the 2017-18 financial year 13% of the 3325 reports filed with the ICO were classed as; ‘data emailed to the wrong recipient’ followed by ‘data faxed to the wrong recipient’. Also, on 13% was the loss or theft of paperwork.

The healthcare sector saw a 22% increase in the number of reports which could be down to the introduction of mandatory reporting rules. The education sector meanwhile saw reported incidents rise by 32% with the loss or theft of data being the primary type of incident.

The ‘General business’ category saw the number of incidents rise by 11%, and local government recorded an increase of 10%.

Increased awareness of GDPR and the introduction of the ICOs new personal data breach helpline are likely causes for the rise in reporting.

The report shows that human error continues to be the most common cause of data breaches. As external hackers are opportunists they rely on mistakes being made to attack an organisation. The training of employees in the cybersecurity basics. Awareness training can empower employees into taking information security seriously and understand why organisational data is valuable and what the consequences of a breach can be.

What are the basics?

  • Ditch the ‘It’ll never happen to me’ mentality
  • When sending emails doublecheck to see that the recipient’s details are correct
  • Don’t leave your devices unlocked
  • Don’t click suspicious links
  • Keep your anti-virus and other security applications up to date
  • Follow policies, procedures and audits
  • Regularly patch your devices and networks
  • Use good browsing habits

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