With 2011 drawing to a close, it's time to look at how we fared this year in terms of data breaches in the US. The statistics of data breaches only show known data breaches, so we can expect that the 2011 figure will continue to climb as data breaches that have already occurred are discovered in the coming months. Many data breaches also go unreported, so these figures should be considered conservative.
There are a few main websites that keep somewhat real-time information on data breaches, so we will compare the data they show for 2011.
PrivacyRights.org Data Breach Figures (last update, December 26, 2011)
DataLossDB.org Data Breach Figures (last update December 28, 2011)
idtheftcenter.org Data Breach Figures (last update December 27, 2011)
Whichever source of information you refer to, the numbers are staggering. Though reported breaches may be down overall, the number of exposed records was dramatically higher. There were many significant data breaches in 2011 that affected millions of people at once.
Let's hope 2012 brings some improvements… though, realistically, we probably will continue to see these numbers rise.