New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced this week that there were a record number of data breach notices in New York in 2016, with nearly 1,300 reported data breaches exposing the personal records of 1.6 million New Yorkers. These numbers represented a 60 percent year-over-year increase in the number of data breaches reported, and a threefold increase in the number of records exposed.
According to an analysis conducted by the Attorney General’s office, which builds on a 2014 report, most of the exposed records consisted of social security numbers and financial account information, and the leading causes of data security breaches in New York were hacking and inadvertent disclosures. Schneiderman’s statement cautioned that these record numbers make it “all the more important for companies and citizens alike to take precaution when sharing and storing personal data” as “these breaches too often jeopardize the financial health of New Yorkers and cost the public and private sectors billions of dollars.”
The announcement includes several tables and charts detailing the causes of data breaches, type of information acquired, and the number of New York residents affected by the breaches. It concludes with a series of recommendations for companies and consumers to protect against data breaches. For companies, these include understanding data-handling practices and security measures, deploying data minimization tactics, creating and implementing an information security plan that includes encryption, taking immediate action in the event of a breach, and offering mitigation products to affected individuals.