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Paul Penrose

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Paul Penrose - Finextra

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We can predict the future - breach researchers amazing claim

29 May 2009  |  4903 views  |  1

Fourteen data breaches will, over the next year, each expose one million or more records to potential use by criminals. And, at least one breach of over 10 million records will affect nearly five percent of the US population. 

That's the claim made by Voltage Security, which has produced a visual map tracking US and global data breach incidents. The map provides an at-a-glance view that summarises  historical and real-time breaches, size and scope, types of records, regions affected, industry and more.

The analysis, which you can read about in more detail in this paper, shows that while there is a constant low-level stream of incidents, there are epidemic like qualities to the breaches, ie you can model the incident data to the point where it's possible to predict the magnitude and frequency of future breaches.

Visual maps of viral outbreaks have existed for some time and provide a useful means of illustrating threats and trends. In creating its own data breach index map, Voltage is hoping to do the same for the new frontier of large-scale data theft.

It will be interesting to follow the analysis over time and see just how useful this approach is in raising awareness and heading off any future threats.

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Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 30 May, 2009, 23:00

Could we incorporate some sort of scoring system and turn it into a sport?

Perhaps there's a hedge market there too for breach futures?

I should not be facetious but I guess I am fairly familiar with the numbers, and they are of course vastly different than those reported. Only recently have even a small percentage of businesses and governments even achieved awareness of some breaches. So I would say the data is at present only capable of supporting the conclusion that there will be more breaches.

Epidemic outbreaks cannot be predicted, in the sense that it is virtually impossible to accurately predict the end result of a breach.

It is far easier to predict the point at which the entire population will be 'infected' (ie. all the worthwhile data will have been stolen.)

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job title Head of Research
location London
member since 2007
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I'm responsible for editorial content and quality control across the full range of Finextra media.

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