Local government 'accounts for 1 in 10 data breaches'

LOCAL GOVERNMENT accounts for more than one in 10 data breaches, leaving it second only to healthcare, according to new research.

Analysis of data from the Information Commissioner's Office between January 2013 and December 2016 by Egress Software Technologies found that local government suffered 642 reported incidents - 11% of all data breaches.

Healthcare was, however, by far the worst performing sector, with 2,447 reported incidents - 43% of the total.

Across all sectors, the total number of reported security incidents has increased by almost a third (32%) since 2014.

The courts and justice sector saw the biggest overall rise in incidents at 290%. There were also significant increases for central government (33%) and finance industries (44%).

Almost half of data breaches involved human error by internal staff, with the figure rising from 44% in October to December 2014 to 49% in the corresponding period of 2016.

Data shared in error is the single highest contributor to breaches, accounting for around a third of incidents.

"Following the WannaCry exploit, the vulnerability of the healthcare industry, and the critical importance of improving its cybersecurity, has come into sharp focus," said Egress co-founder and chief executive Tony Pepper.

"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.

"We are all aware that security incidents are rising, but many may not suspect how large a proportion of these are down to error and lack of control over sensitive data."