United States government employees got a taste of how hackers affected Home Depot and Target customers when it came to light Friday that personal information of about four million current and former federal workers had been stolen in a cyber-attack.
The information security company collected data from 574 data breaches across 15 countries last year, including the U.S., and found that retail made up a mammoth 43 percent of investigations. Of those instances, 64 percent of breaches affected e-commerce operations, while 27 percent had their point-of-sale systems compromised.
How did these hackers gain access? Weak passwords opened the door in 28 percent of all cases.
And in news that’s surprising to no one, payment card information was the most sought-after asset, comprising 31 percent of cases last year compared to 12 percent in 2013. A further 20 percent of hackers went after either financial credentials or trade secrets.
The report also pointed out that 81 percent of victims did not detect data breaches themselves and it took around 154 days for an intrusion to be detected, giving hackers plenty of time to steal whatever they desired.
But while retailers have ramped up security plans in the wake of high profile attacks on big-box businesses, Gartner Inc. reports they’re still spending a measly 4 percent of their IT budgets on cyber security.