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As the cyber landscape continues to evolve and become more malicious, data breaches are becoming increasingly common throughout industries. The federal government, which was once thought to be immune to such incidents, is in fact experiencing more attacks than ever before.
A recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) noted that federal agencies reported more than 15,500 data breaches in 2011, up from only slightly more than 13,000 in 2010, representing a growth of approximately 19 percent.
A separate report by the Identity Theft Resource Council revealed that more than 1.7 million government- or military-related records have already been exposed in 2012 due to data breaches.
Despite the growing vulnerabilities that could potentially expose personally identifiable information (PII), organizations can take some steps to mitigate risk.
Decision-makers should limit the amount of data mined from individuals and assess any privacy implications they may encounter before collecting any PII. Furthermore, federal agencies need to ensure they implement robust security intelligence solutions capable of evaluating the network and discovering any potential vulnerabilities that could lead to a data breach, GAO reported.