Health sector 'sees most data breaches'

Around 43 per cent of all data breaches in the UK take place in the health sector, according to new statistics released by data security and encryption company Egress.

According to the report, there have been a total of 2,447 data breaches between January 2014 and December 2016, which works out as almost four times more than the second highest in the sector, the local government.

The study revealed that the number of data security incidents rose 20 per cent, from 184 in quarter 4 in 2014 to 221 two years later, with human error found to be the main cause, rather than external threats.

In those 221 incidents, 24 per cent of incidents were caused by loss of paperwork, 19 per cent were caused by data being posted to the wrong participant, nine per cent were emailed to the wrong person, and five per cent were caused by failure to redact data.

"Following the WannaCry exploit, the vulnerability of the healthcare industry, and the critical importance of improving its cybersecurity, has come into sharp focus," said Tony Pepper, CEO and co-founder of Egress Software Technologies. "While it’s clear there is a security problem in healthcare, these figures show that it is as much about internal activity as external threat."

Mr Pepper added: "There’s no doubt that someone inadvertently emailing a spreadsheet containing sensitive patient details to the wrong person isn’t as good a headline as a ransomware attack, but that does not diminish the threat it poses."

Aside from healthcare, other industries also experienced an increase in data security incidents, with the courts of justice seeing the most significant surge, 290 per cent since 2014, placing it in the top five worst affected sectors by the final quarter of 2016.

(Image: Wikimedia commons)

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