Less than one-third of the total number of security breaches in 2010 were properly reported, leaving consumers in the dark about what records have been put at risk, a recent report reveals.


The Identity Theft Resource Center recorded 662 breaches last year, a vast difference from the Department of Health and Human Services' record of 214 data breaches. The government's database does not include what types of records were placed at risk, nor does it report whether names, X-rays, Social Security numbers or other personal information was exposed, the center says.

The breach list analysis also found that paper breaches often go unnoticed, though they account for about 20 percent of known breaches. Insider theft makes up 15.4 percent of security breach cases and hacking accounts for 17.1 percent. Social Security numbers were exposed in 412 breaches.

Data breaches run the gamut from website passwords to medical records. The report acknowledges that hacked or stolen data is a fact of life, but calls on companies to be more transparent and truthful with consumers when a breach happens.

Hiding the details or the occurrence of a breach can hurt investigations, according to Business Insider, and it does a disservice to a company's customers.