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  • Few types of data are as sensitive and valuable as protected health information (PHI). Unfortunately, theft of this information is becoming a regular event. According to the "Verizon 2015 Protected Health Information Data Breach Report," 90 percent of industries in the medical and health care arena have experienced a PHI breach. Verizon examined datasets across 25 countries, and it's clear that the problem has reached a critical point. Several major breaches occurred in the U.S. recently, including incidents at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). What's surprising—and disturbing—is that most organizations that are outside of the health care industry don't realize that they also store this type of data. Common sources of protected health information include employee records (such as health insurance claims and Workers' Compensation claims) and information stored in companies' wellness programs. Verizon reports that this information is generally not protected very well. The report states that "Health care providers [need to] better proactively defend patient data from prying eyes; assess processes, procedures and technologies that affect the security of these records; and prescribe a proactive treatment that will help the 'cyber-immune system.'" Here's a look at some key findings.

  • This report offers insights into cyber-threats from around the world, including countries where the most attacks originate and nations that are most targeted.

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture puts advanced analytics to work to root out fraud in the food stamp program, thereby using tax dollars more effectively.

  • Officers and directors at public companies want direction about the reasonable security measures needed to protect customer data—and the firm from liability.

  • The rapid growth of cyber-crime and the resulting risks are frightening to both businesses and consumers. It's increasingly difficult to evade the problem. A new report from security firm ThreatMetrix, "Cybercrime Report 2015," illustrates just how huge the hacking and attacking problem is and what impact it has on organizations. During the period from July through September, the ThreatMetrix Digital Identity Network detected and stopped 90 million different attack attempts—an astounding 20 percent increase over the previous quarter. The report also identified a number of key issues, including the growing risks associated with mobile technology; the need to balance security and convenience, particularly involving authentication; digital data leakage risks; location spoofing; digital identification cloaking; and the need for more sophisticated detection through analytics. Aside from negatively affecting corporate brands and reputations, these attacks represent billions of dollars in financial losses across the globe. Here are some of the key findings from the study.

  • An assortment of apps are stealing data, tracking the location of users, sending unauthorized messages to contacts, and even making unauthorized phone calls.