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Cyber Breaches Put Nearly Half of Californians at Risk in 2013: Report

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Cyber intrusions and other data breaches put the personal records of 18.5 million Californians, nearly half the state's population, at risk in 2013, a seven-fold increase over the year before, the state attorney general reported on Tuesday. The number of data breaches reported by companies and government entities increased 28 percent, from 131 in 2012 to 167 last year, more than half of them, or 53 percent, caused by cyber incursions such as computer hacking and malware, the report said. The physical loss or theft of laptops and other devices containing unencrypted personal information accounted for 26 percent of the reported breaches last year, while the rest stemmed from unintentional errors and deliberate misuse. The number of California residents whose personal information was compromised by breaches in data climbed sharply, from about 2.5 million in 2012 to roughly 18.5 million last year, the report said. The bulk of that increase came from massive cyber intrusions of two large retail chains in 2013, Target Corp and LivingSocial, each of which compromised the personal data of 7.5 million Californians, according to the study.

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