Online data security breaches soar in 2008; reach 285 million

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NEW YORK - An increase in targeted cyber crime attacks on financial services firms means that more electronic records were compromised in 2008 than in the previous four years combined.

The research from Verizon says the financial sector accounted for 93% of the total of 285 million records compromised for 2008. Furthermore, 90% of records involved in breaches were targeted by groups identified by authorities as linked to organised crime.

Verizon says 74% of data theft was committed by external parties, with 32% linked to business partners, and only 20% of breaches involved company insiders.

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