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One Billion Pieces of Data Compromised in 2014
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 6:35 AM

Nearly one billion pieces of personal information were compromised in 2014 as a result of data breaches, with the retail industry allowing the highest number of incidents, according to a report from digital security firm Gemalto, based out of the Netherlands (The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 12).

Breaches climbed by 49 percent overall in 2014 with 1,500 attacks, while the number of individual data records that were compromised jumped 78 percent, the report found. The majority of breaches (55 percent) occurred at merchant stores, up from 29 percent in 2013, with an increase seen in the number of attacks on point-of-sale systems as well.

Cornerstone Credit Union League and Credit Union National Association continue to urge lawmakers to pass legislation that requires merchants to adhere to the same strict payment data security standards that financial institutions must meet. Credit unions can help in this effort by going to

The Gemalto report also found that identity theft was the most common type of attack, as 54 percent of the breaches involved the theft of personal data, a 23 percent jump from 2013.

And because only 4 percent of the breaches involved encrypted data, it could mean that encrypted data is more secure, or that many companies and organizations have yet to implement encryption technology (The Wall Street Journal). The recent Anthem security breach, where more than 80 million Social Security numbers were compromised, involved unencrypted data.