The number of data breaches at UK firms has increased by more than 1,000 percent over the past five years according to figures obtained from the Information Commissioner’s Officer (ICO).
The figures are based on the number of self-reported breaches, where firms have alerted the ICO to a breach, and so may only be the tip of the iceberg.
The rise represents a worrying trend. In 2011/12, there were 821 incidents reported to the ICO.
The largest rise in breaches occurred within local government, where the number of reported breaches rose by 1,609 percent between 2007 and 2012.
This equates to 11 data breaches between November 2007 to November 2008 but up to a massive 188 by 2012.
Elsewhere, the rises across the NHS were 935 percent; central government reports were up 132 percent; and the private sector saw a 1,159 percent increase.
The figures were obtained following a Freedom of Information request made by storage and security firm Imation.
“The massive increase in data breaches in just five years is fairly startling,” said Nick Banks, head of mobile security for Imation, in Europe.
“But perhaps more alarming is the consistent year-on-year increase in data breaches since 2007. The figures seem to show that increasing financial penalties have had little effect on the amount of data breaches each year.”
But while the rise in reported breaches suggests hackers are increasingly successful in targeting enterprises, the increases have been exaggerated by the introduction of mandatory reporting of breaches in some sectors.
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