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September 1, 2016

Cyber security incidents almost double in one year

News: Reported cyber security incidents to the UK’s ICO see massive jump.

By Alexander Sword

The number of reported cyber security incidents has nearly doubled in the last year.

According to a Freedom of Information request made by Huntsman Security, the number of incidents reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office increased to 2048 between April 2015 and March 2016 compared to 1089 from March to March a year earlier.

The request revealed that most data breaches affected the health, local government and education sectors, with these accounting for 64 percent of reported breaches.

The healthcare and local government sectors reported 941 and 202 breaches respectively.

However, despite only being hit by 6 percent of breaches, the financial sector attracted 33 percent of penalties levied by the ICO. This means that finance-related breaches may be more severe than others.

The big concern, however, is that as Huntsman Security CEO Peter Woollacott said, these reported incidents do not account for the whole picture.

“Quite simply, no news is bad news: if breaches aren’t being detected, it most likely just means that security analysts are having difficulty finding the needles in the haystack,” said Wollacott, saying that the figures reported to the ICO are likely to be lower than the reality.

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“The root of the problem is that organisations are under such an intense barrage of cyber activity that threat alerts; many of which turn out to be benign are overwhelming cyber security teams. There is simply too much data to analyse and verify manually,” he said.

The FOI also revealed a surprisingly low number of incidents being reported by utilities companies, which only reported two incidents in the period.

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