Led By Massive Target Theft, Data Breaches Affected 1.2 Million In Mass. In 2013
Nearly 1.2 million Massachusetts residents — a record number — had their personal information compromised last year, with most of the breaches stemming from a massive data theft from Target stores in December, according to an annual state report.
The report, issued Thursday by the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, says some 947,000 Massachusetts residents were affected by the Target breach. Nationwide, the security theft from the giant retailer affected tens of millions of people.
"Last year was an unprecedented year for high volume and high profile data breaches. I alone had my information breached four times,” Consumer Affairs Undersecretary Barbara Anthony said in a statement with the report. “However, with the exception of Target, the number of Massachusetts residents whose personal information was compromised by data breaches was down by almost 40 percent from 2012, which is encouraging."
Approximately 340,000 residents were impacted by data breaches in 2012, the report says.
In addition to the number of residents affected, the raw total of data breaches also increased year-over-year. In 2012, the state received 1,143 notifications of data breach incidents, the report found. In 2013, that number jumped by 59 percent, to 1,821 reports of incidents.
A large majority (88 percent) of last year's data breaches in Massachusetts involved electronic records, while an additional 10 percent involved paper security breaches.
Eighty-five percent of breaches hit the financial services industry. The next closest industry was health care, with 5 percent of data breaches.
Though Target's security breach affected far and away the most residents, the retail services sector experienced just 24 total data breaches last year, the report found.