The Internet Security Threat Report from Symantec shows that the world is in an era of “mega data breach”. Organizations worldwide are suffering and this includes both national security departments and commercial enterprises.
According to the latest report, the number of data records breached has increased by 62% in the last year, to 552 million.
India is the third most vulnerable country in the world when it comes to data breach threats from malicious cyber activities.
According to the report, hackers have been responsible for 35% of all global incidents and 76% of identity theft issues during 2013.
“While the level of sophistication continues to grow among attackers, what was surprising last year was their willingness to be a lot more patient – waiting to strike until the reward is bigger and better,” said Kevin Haley, director of Symantec Security Response. As a result, customers are losing trust in online businesses and platforms that require submitting personal information.
Even small gains do not deter hackers from stealing confidential data from several Indian businesses.
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System problems and human error accounted for most data breaches in India, according to the Symantec report. The issues in mishandling included lack of proper system control, weak handling of confidential databases and violation of government and industry regulations.
The most heavily affected industry in India is healthcare and pharmaceuticals, with the cost of a breach 70% higher than any other sector. According to a 2013 report from Symantec and the Ponemon Institute, every compromised record costs 2,271 INR to Indian businesses.
The amount of data online has increased with the use of smart devices and this has created opportunities for cyber criminals. Symantec recommends that businesses focus more on securing the data than on the datacenter.
Employees must be educated in the best data handling practices and strict security frameworks need to be in place.
The risks associated with cyber crimes include financial loss, reputation damage, litigations. Law suits, customer loss and regulatory problems.
Vicky Shah, CEO of Eagle Eye, a security firm based in India, said: “The most immediate need of the hour is to raise awareness among buyers and customers.
"Technology has improved, but it also gives a platform for cyber criminals. Everyone sharing their personal information online should be aware of the ‘what’, ‘where’ and ‘how’ of the process.
"In the case of organizations, there is every chance that cyber crime is facilitated by someone in the workplace and with the powers. The management must be very stringent about assigning and monitoring responsibilities.”