Number of data breaches reported to ICO passes 1,000 mark

Data security

The number of data breaches reported to the Information Commissioner's Office involving personal information has surpassed the 1,000 mark.

The NHS reported the highest number of breaches with 305 of the overall figure of 1,007. The private sector was the second worst offender, accounting for 288, while local government was in third with 132.

In 307 of the 1,007 cases, breaches occurred because either data or hardware had been stolen. Losing data or hardware was also a key factor, accounting for 233 of all breaches.

"We all know that mistakes can happen but the fact is that human error is behind a high proportion of security breaches that have been reported to us," said deputy commissioner David Smith in a statement.

"Extra vigilance is required so that people's personal information does not end up in the wrong hands. Organisations should have clear security and disclosure procedures that staff can understand, properly implement these and ensure that they are being followed by staff. Staff must be adequately trained not just in the value of personal information, but in how to protect it," Smith added.

He stressed that the ICO is "keen to work with organisations to prevent breaches happening in the first place and to help ensure that things are put right when they do go wrong".

Outside of IT intrusions, it appears the ICO will be working with the Office of Fair Trading on regulation of online behavioral advertising.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.