Mcafee: Only 1/3 Of Companies Admit Data Breach

Dennis Faas's picture

A leading security firm says targeting personal data is becoming less of a priority for online criminals. Instead, there's now a greater effort to unlawfully access corporate data, including trade secrets.

Word of this new trend comes to us courtesy of a McAfee report based on a survey of around 1,000 IT managers in seven countries.

Only 1/3 Of Companies Publicly Admit Data Breach

Perhaps the most dramatic finding was that previous estimates of data breaches may have been much lower than was reality, as just 30 per cent of companies questioned said they always make breaches public.

Around 60 per cent decide this on a case-by-case basis, and the remaining 10 per cent only ever publicly acknowledge a breach where they are legally required to do so. (Source:

There were significant regional variations: in the US, 40 per cent of firms always report a breach no matter how important; in China 50 per cent report any "significant" breach; and in the United Arab Emirates, 50 per cent only ever report a breach where the law forces them to do so.

Data Breach Publicity: a Double Whammy

There are two main reasons for this hesitancy: the first is the simple fear that a public acknowledgement may effectively tip-off other would-be attackers. The second is the concern that news of the breach may serve to concern investors and depress the company's stock price.

Historically, data breaches have been focused on getting hold of personal data, including the card details of customers of retail companies. However, the report says there is more emphasis on getting hold of corporate information such as information about products in development or other intellectual property issues.

Data Loss Leads to Delays

One in four companies report that either a product launch has been delayed thanks to a data breach, or that losing sensitive information has caused problems with a planned merger or takeover. (Source:

Another point raised in the report is that many firms have begun storing data overseas to save on costs: in some cases, domestic data storage can cost seven times as much as putting the same data on overseas servers.

The problem comes when that's a false economy because security standards are lower in the foreign country. The survey found that a majority of companies are now looking again to see if overseas storage is a security risk.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet