Human Error Not Hackers Behind Most Data Breaches

Incidence of data security breaches received by the UK’s Information Commissioner (ICO) has surged 75 per cent over the past two years, according to new analysis by Kroll, the risk mitigation and investigative services company. The overwhelming majority were down to human error, rather than malicious cyber incidents.

Around 2,124 reports could be attributed to human error, compared to just 292 that were deliberate cyber incidents, Kroll said, with the most common types of incidents being confidential data being emailed to the incorrect recipient (447 incidents), loss or theft of paperwork (438) and data left in an insecure location (164).

Most guilty of such breaches was the healthcare sector, which reported 1,214 incidents over the past year, a 41 per cent increase over two years. This is followed by general business (362), education and childcare (354) and local government (328).

Andrew Beckett, managing director and EMEA Leader for Kroll’s Cyber Risk Practice, explained: “Reporting data breaches wasn’t mandatory for most organisations before the GDPR came into force, so while the data is revealing, it only gives a snapshot into the true picture of breaches suffered by organisations in the UK.”

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