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December 5, 2014

Human error causes worrying rise in data breaches

Just 7% of data breaches were the result of technical failings.

By CBR Staff Writer

One-quarter of reported data breaches were caused by the accidental loss or destruction of personal data during the first three months of 2014, according to the findings of a Freedom of Information request.

Encryption services specialist Egress Software Technologies made the request to the Information Commissioner’s Office and discovered that the accidental loss figure represented a 15 per cent rise when compared to the figure for the second half of 2013.

As many as 43 per cent of data breaches involved confidential information being disclosed in error, primarily through emailing, faxing or posting data to an incorrect recipient.

"Organisations need to make data protection a priority. Where possible, fax and post must be replaced by secure electronic communication that is procured in its own right," said Tony Pepper, chief executive at Egress.

Just seven per cent of breaches for the period occurred as a result of technical failings. The remaining 93 per cent were down to human error, poor processes and systems in place, and lack of care when handling data.

In fact, to date no fines have been levied due to technical failings exposing confidential data, where as a total £5.1m has been issued for mistakes made when handling sensitive information.

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