ITRC Data Breach Report Says Threat Actors Are More Targeted –


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James E. Lee on Criminals' Changing Behavior and How to Reduce Risk of Breaches

Anna Delaney (annamadeline) •
January 31, 2022    

ITRC Data Breach Report Shows Surge in Data Compromises
James E. Lee, COO, Identity Theft Resource Center

In 2021, the overall number of data compromises was 1,862 - a 68% increase over 2020, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center's 2021 Annual Data Breach Report. "In this past year, there were more cyberattack-related data breaches than there were all forms of data breaches in 2020," says ITRC COO James E. Lee.

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Lee says that despite the increase in data compromises, the number of victims is falling. Unlike previous years, identity criminals are increasingly less interested in the "massive accumulation of data," but instead have been "very targeted in the kinds of information they want, and then what they do with it," he says.

The report also indicates that ransomware-related data breaches have doubled in each of the past two years. It suggests that at the current growth rate, ransomware attacks will pass phishing as the number one root cause of data compromises in 2022.

In a video interview with Information Security Media Group, Lee discusses:

  • Highlights from the ITRC's 16th annual Data Breach Report;
  • The impact of new privacy laws in the U.S.;
  • How organizations and individuals can use the findings to help reduce the risk of data breaches.

Lee is the chief operating officer of the ITRC. A data protection and technology veteran, he is the former executive vice president and company secretary of Irish application security company Waratek and the former senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Atlanta-based data pioneer ChoicePoint - now LexisNexis. He also chaired two working groups on identity management and privacy for the American National Standards Institute. Prior to joining ChoicePoint, Lee served as a global public affairs and communication executive at International Paper Co.

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