22 Sep 2011

Almost one-third of Massachusetts resident have been compromised by hacking

The Massachusetts Attorney General's office said the personal information of about 2 million Boston residents, or one of every three people that live in the state, have been compromised through electronic data and internet security breaches over the past 20 months, news sources say.

State Attorney General Martha Coakley released the information earlier this week. A state law took effect at the beginning of 2010 which required companies to report to state regulators all of the security breaches that put customers and others at a security risk. Coakley said she isn't sure whether the law has reduced fraud, but she sees more problems occurring as personal information is shared online.

"There is going to be more room for employee error, for intentional hacking,'' Coakley said. "This is going to be an increasing target.''

According to information from the attorney general's office, companies reported 1,166 data breaches since January 1 of 2010. One in four cases involved deliberate hacking into computer systems and another one in four appear to be mistakes, such as emails or faxes to the wrong person, the report said. Credit card numbers were compromised in 15 percent of cases.