A couple years ago, we noted that the old claim that "insiders" were the biggest data breach threat was no longer true
, as other threats were becoming a much bigger deal. While that study seemed to use very different methodology, a new study is out that agrees that insiders are a much smaller threat, but notes that outside hacking surpassed "human error"
as the cause of data breaches in 2009. While it's good that human error issues are decreasing as a percentage, is it worrisome that outside hack attacks are now becoming such a major problem? The good news in the data is that there were supposedly fewer reported attacks in 2009 (by a pretty large amount) compared to 2008 -- so one possible reading of the data is that people have been effective in preventing things like human error breaches much more often, which is what allowed outside hack attacks to take the lead on a percentage basis. However, with recent stories of things like China's hack attack on Google
it seems like we'll be hearing more and more stories about these sorts of attacks for one important reason: in many (certainly not all) cases, they can be quite effective.