Last year, 2.5 million Californians were victims of security breaches that revealed their personal information to unauthorized people, according to the state Attorney General.
More dramatic than the number of people victimized is the conclusion that 1.4 million of those people would have been protected if merchants and businesses had taken the simple step to encrypt the data, inserting a digital key that locks access to information as it is transmitted.
Since 2003, California businesses have been required to notify consumers if someone breaches their data system and intercepts personal information. Forty-six states have followed suit. Those businesses are now also required to report any data breach that affects more than 500 people to the California Attorney General. The report, released this summer, is based on those first reports.
An average of 22,500 people were affected by each of the 131 incidents reported, although some were larger and five affected 100,000 or more people, according to the report. Retail stores accounted for the most incidents (26 percent of the cases), followed by finance and insurance (23 percent) and healthcare (15 percent).
The scene was right out of a TV cop drama. Shots rang out. A crowd ducked for cover. The bad guys sped off in a getaway car. The incident in a Sacramento shopping mall last year was real life. But just like on television, the case was wrapped up in three hours, with the bad guys in jail and the car impounded.
Sac Town revelers along K Street seem oblivious to new coordinated efforts by the Sacramento police, city officials, pubs, clubs and bars to deploy new layers of security and preparedness which, well, probably account for the harmony on this Friday evening in March.