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The Identity Theft Resource Center has just published their 2018 end-of-year breach report. There are some sobering statistics included in the report. The total number of breaches reported decreased 23% since 2017, however the total number of exposed consumer PII records went up 126%. In 2018, the ITRC recorded 1,244 U.S. breaches, down 23% from 2017, which saw an all-time high of 1,632 breaches. The number of consumer records exposed that contained personally identifiable information (PII) was more than double, from 197.6 million in 2017 to 446.5 million in 2018.

The business sector led the way in the total amount of breaches while the Medical/Health industry reported the second largest amount of breaches in 2018, with the highest rate of exposure per breach. Reported findings also show that hacking continues to lead the way as the most common form of data breaches in 2018, resulting in 482 data breaches and 16.7 million records exposed. The second largest form of data breach resulted from unauthorized access and accidental exposure to PII (such as exposed databases, etc).

A key takeaway from the report is that non-sensitive PII —such as email addresses, usernames and passwords—  can be just as important in some cases as sensitive PII as it can help thieves fill in the complete puzzle on an individual.

“While some consumers may discount a data breach involving their non-sensitive PII, it’s important for them to understand that having this type of information compromised can have serious ramifications as well. A consumer’s identity is similar to that of a puzzle and the more accurate pieces a thief has about someone, the more they can successfully represent that person”.

You Can’t Protect PII If You Don’t Know Where It Is

With the earliest data assessment available, Heureka Software automatically identifies PII on a daily bases giving companies the tool they need to protect their employees or their customer’s information. You can take action to remediate files by using quarantine, delete or collection tools at file level across all platforms.

Visibility Is Key

Up to 80% of an organization’s data is unstructured. Heureka provides visibility into data across all platforms including laptops, desktops and fileshares. Each system updates daily for a full 360 degree view of risk and potential compliance issues. Heureka’s risk dashboard provides instant feedback on daily and monthly risk and provides tools to drill down to file-level information.