For a number of years, in WA and other states, companies doing business here legally have to report data breaches to the state, namely the Attorney General's Office.

280 companies reported some sort of unwanted intrusion into their sensitive information.

   Friday, the AG's office released its 2021 report, and the information is shocking.

DATA BREACHES WENT UP BY HOW MUCH?

Last year, 60 companies reported having their online data compromised. The previous record was 78 a few years ago. But in 2021, 280 companies reported some sort of unwanted intrusion into their sensitive information.

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In addition, the AG report says 6.3 million notices were sent to Washington residents informing them their information online had potentially been compromised.

 WHAT KIND OF BREACHES AND ACTIVITY HAS GONE UP?

The report indicates the biggest jumps in online assaults came from cyber attacks (attempts to overwhelm business security systems) and ransomware. Ramsonware involves a hacker breaking into a database or company and then encrypting the data so that the company cannot access it; unless they pay a ransom.

They are often told if they pay it, they will be given a key to unlock their data but usually it's never sent.

A local TV station, KEPR-TV was a recent victim of a ransomware attack on Oct. 18th that targeted their parent company Sinclair Broadcasting.  A few years ago, our company, Townsquare Media, was hit with a nationwide effort as well.

According to the report, the two most attacked industries were business (32 attacks) and healthcare industries (12).  4 financial service groups were reported to have been hacked, 2 government agencies, and 1 educational online assault.

It appears hackers find it easier to penetrate business transactions and steal thousands of social security numbers and personal data and sell it on the Dark Web, which does exist by the way.

The types of information most stolen in 2021 were 1) financial and banking, 2) social security data, and 3) medical information.

The report does not give a list of the specific companies, businesses or institutions who were hacked or reported breaches.

To look over the report for yourself, click on the button below.

Any of these companies ever hit? Some of them have been.

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