According to a report by the Ottawa Citizen today, the federal government saw a surge in security breaches over a 10-month period, beginning on April 1, 2013 and ending on Jan. 29, 2014.
By comparison, the federal government reported just over 3,000 breaches in the 10 years prior.
In total, federal departments and agencies reported 3,763 breaches, some of which involved the loss or compromise of personal information. The CRA was the most prolific department, with 2,983 reported breaches to its name, although it stressed that 95 percent of its problems were caused by misdirected mail rather than cyber crime.
All told, only 219 incidents across all federal departments were reported to the privacy commissioner for the 2013-14 fiscal year, prompting a spokesperson for the office of the privacy commissioner to comment that “there remains room for improvement” when it comes to reporting breaches.
But what is the reason for the increase in breaches? The Citizen pointed to the fact that the CRA acquired a chief privacy officer in April 2013 and started reporting more thoroughly the data breaches it experienced.
It also pointed out that these numbers follow a rash of highly-publicized data breaches that compromised Canadians’ personal information, most notably the 2012 incident in which a hard drive containing data for 583,000 loan borrowers went missing from Employment and Social Development Canada.
The rest of the report can be found on the Ottawa Citizen website.