Calif. DOJ Boosts Involvement in Data Breach Investigations
On Thursday, California Attorney General Kamala Harris (D) announced that the state Department of Justice will take a more active role in preventing and investigating data breaches after hundreds of such incidents occurred over the past two years, including some at health care institutions, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports.
Background on Breaches
There have been about 300 data breaches in California over the past two years, affecting 21.3 million consumers.
The number of data breaches increased by 30% from 2012 to 2013, when reporting requirements went into effect.
Organizations that experienced breaches in 2012 included:
- American Express Travel Related Services;
- Kaiser Permanente;
- The state Department of Public Health; and
- The state Department of Social Services.
Breaches compromised private consumer information, such as:
- Social Security numbers; and
- Credit card and bank account data.
- Details of State Involvement
As part of the efforts to reduce data breaches, the California Department of Justice has released a cybersecurity guide for small businesses. The guide was developed at no cost in conjunction with the state Chamber of Commerce and the mobile security firm Lookout.
The 34-page guide recommends that small businesses:
- Encrypt their data;
- Use a secure browser connection;
- Install firewalls;
- Ensure password are protected; and
- Prepare an emergency response plan for cyberattacks.
In a letter introducing the new guide, Harris said, "California is at the center of the digital revolution that is changing the world," adding, "Unfortunately, cybercrime, data breaches, theft of proprietary information, hacking and malware incidents are now routine."
Harris also announced that the state Department of Justice is leading a multistate investigation over a recent nationwide data breach that affected consumer data at Target and Neiman Marcus (Thompson, AP/Contra Costa Times, 2/27).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.