Lost Devices or Hacking Top Financial Threat? It's How You Look at the Data

Lost Devices or Hacking Top Financial Threat? It’s How You Look at the Data

Lost Devices or Hacking Top Financial Threat? It's How You Look at the Data
Financial firms are more likely to report a breach due to a lost or stolen device than due to hacking or malware, according to a survey of a decade of published reports conducted by security firm Bitglass.

Yet, other surveys—and the dataset on which they are based—have found that hacking and malware have been a more common threat for the industry in recent years.

The Bitglass data , most of which comes from the database of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, shows that 25 percent of breaches that have occurred since 2006 have been due to lost or stolen devices, while 19 percent of reports point to hacking or malware as the cause.

“Lost and stolen devices are a common problem, and they can be costly for any bank,” Salim Hafid, a product manager with Bitglass, told recently, the data is heavily skewed by a large number of breach reports citing lost and stolen devices in 2006, 2007 and 2010. In fact, for the past four years—between 2012 and 2015, inclusive—hacking and malware have edged out missing devices as the top threat for financial institutions, according to anti-malware firm Trend Micro and research conducted using Privacy Rights Clearinghouse data Similar to Bitglass, Trend Micro found that portable device loss accounted for about a quarter of all breaches—27 percent in its analysis—but also found those breaches have been on a decline for the past decade, while hacking and malware have been on the rise.

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Yet, Trend Micro—in its blog—called the theme that hacking and malware are the biggest threat a myth.

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