[Dave Birch] Our friends at Javelin report that almost a third of U.S. consumers were victims of a data breach during a year-long study.  Less than 1% of those whose data was lost were actually victims of identity fraud.  This supports Simon Williams point.  In fact, data breaches were responsible for only 6% of all known cases of identity fraud, which raises a genuine question about the value of "disclosure legislation" that simply means expense for businesses and may not protect consumers from identity fraud at all.

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One obvious reason for large number of breaches is the use of laptops and, as Forbes pointed out, the theft of laptops from government departments is particular problem.  It calls the number of incidents in the U.S. "astounding" and cities the well-known case of the theft of a laptop computer from the home of someone working for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: the laptop contained millions of names, birth dates and Social Security numbers (everything needed for successful identity theft in America).  Now, in that case, the police found the perpetrators and got the laptop back: perhaps they got lucky and it was stolen by people who thought the laptop was more valuable than the data it contained.  It’s not a U.S. issue because exactly the same thing goes on in the U.K.

Even if large scale breaches do not necessarily lead to security incidents, why tempt fate like this?  It does make you wonder about organisational policies that allow so much identity data to be stored and transported on laptops (and, I don’t doubt, PDAs and smartphones as well.  Why is it necessary to carry so much identity data on a laptops?  Can’t people analyse the data in the office?

3 comments

  1. I had my iPod stolen recently – and the first thing I thought was ‘at least I hadn’t put my contacts and notes files on it’… we’re encouraged to carry this stuff around with us even on the smallest devices, and there’s no real attempt at security for the data once it’s there.

  2. To stop identity thefts may end up with many loses for some companies but this is the price of our security.If we don’t do this this may become a serious problem.

  3. This reiterates my feeling on both the security of our Nation and our own personal security, but seeing as though the patriot act has been passed we need to guard our selves “from” the government as well, here’s a great book,,
    “How to be invisible”
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    http://newlaptopsonline.net
    New Laptops Online

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