Everywhere you look, someone’s online privacy has been breached in one (egregious) way or another. Evidence in New Jersey bears that out. The number of data breaches affecting New Jersey residents rose significantly in 2017 (958) over the number reported to state police the previous year (676); that was a 41 percent increase.
The 958 breaches affected more than 4.38 million residents’ accounts. Most of those by far (4 million-plus) were a result of the breach involving the credit-reporting company, Equifax. In 2016, the first year such data was collected, approximately 116,000 New Jersey account holders were affected by data breaches.
The statistics were released yesterday by the state Attorney General’s Office to mark this as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and to prompt people to get serious about protecting their online security. Earlier this year the setup was announced of a new Data Privacy & Cybersecurity Section within the state Division of Law to investigate data privacy cases and advise state agencies on related matters. And an entity titled the New Jersey Cybersecurity & Communications Integration Cell is now the state’s “one-stop shop for cybersecurity information sharing, threat analysis, and incident reporting.” In conjunction with this month’s focus on improving cybersecurity, the latter has released tips for residents.