A data breach occurs when protected information is exposed to an unauthorized source. Since the beginning of 2016, one hundred and thirty-nine (139) data breaches have taken place in the U.S. These data breaches subjected at least 4,294,005 records to identity theft.
No country or entity is immune to data breaches; even ISIS. An article published on March 10 reports that an ISIS data breach disclosed the names, hometowns, blood types, and other personal information of 22,000 members. In the wrong hands, this kind of sensitive information could be deadly.
All aspects of our economy are subject to data breaches. The most affected industry is business with 58 breaches this year. In a close second is healthcare with 51 breaches. Some of the more easily recognized entities that experienced a data breach this year are: the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the IRS, Vermont State Employees, Time Warner Cable, Illinois State University, Wal-Mart's Pharmacy, and Wendy's.
2016 Data Breaches by Industry
2016 Data Breaches Report
The frequency in which data breaches occur and the sensitivity of the information at stake requires vigilance on the consumer's part. Be mindful of data breaches that may involve your or your child's personal information; like ones that occur at schools, medical facilities, and insurance companies. The Identity Theft Resource Center consolidates and publishes information pertaining to data breaches. You can even sign up to receive updates by email.