Healthcare leads all industries in data breaches | Government Health IT

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Healthcare leads all industries in data breaches
September 17, 2015 | Jack McCarthy – Contributing Writer
POSTED IN: Privacy & Security
The healthcare sector experienced 187 data breaches in the first half of 2015, a startling number on its own, but even more so when considering that it accounts for 21.1 percent of all breaches worldwide.

That’s according to a report from data security company Gemalto.

“The healthcare industry historically has had the highest number of data breaches, and that was no different in the first half of 2015,” the report said.

The key finding is perhaps that the healthcare industry had 34 percent of its total records breached, amounting to 84 million data records compromised, the highest rate of any industry. Government accounted for the second highest rate of breaches at 77.2 million records lost, or 31.4 percent.

A contributing factor to the high rate of breaches encountered by the healthcare industry was the February heist of U.S. health insurance provider Anthem, in which criminal hackers broke into the firm’s servers and stole 78.8 million records that contain personally identifiable information, the report said.

The data breach, according to Anthem, extended into multiple brands that the company uses to market its healthcare plans, including Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Amerigroup, Caremore, and UniCare, the report said.

Also listed among the companies experiencing the largest data breaches was electronic health records vendor Medical Informatics engineering, which has 3.9 million records compromised, the report said.

Overall, companies across all sectors are feeling increased pressure from attackers.

“The first six months of 2015 demonstrated that hackers continue to get past conventional perimeter security with relative ease, targeting nearly every industry and executing several high profile data breaches that scored tens of millions of data records each,” the authors of the report wrote. “And, while identity theft remains one of the leading types of data breaches, the first half of 2015 has shown a shift in attack targets … data records stolen from state-sponsored attacks rose dramatically compared to previous years and healthcare and government overtook retail as the major sectors under siege with the number of compromised data records.”

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