A major data breach rivaling Heartland Payment Systems may not have occurred in 2010, but that doesn't mean organizations still aren't getting hit hard.
That is because the prevalence of so-called “micro-breaches" has increased, said Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO of nonprofit IT association CompTIA.
Micro-breaches, essentially, are attacks that take advantage of a single technique, such as data theft through open Wi-Fi networks, to steal large amounts of personal information from many different individuals – not just a single source.
Unlike traditional data leakage incidents, micro-breaches often do not make headlines, even though they happen with regularity, said an audience member.
Meanwhile, the decrease in large-scale data breaches is likely the result of a number of factors, Thibodeaux said.
Organizations are increasingly moving sensitive data to secure cloud environments, he said. Also, the value of stolen financial data has decreased because of the recession, making credit card theft less profitable.
Of course, it could be that organizations just have not detected or disclosed major data loss incidents, he said.
Regardless, the trend will not continue forever, and it is inevitable that massive data breaches will again start to emerge with greater frequency, Thibodeaux predicted.