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Academic Data Breaches Miniscule Compared with Government, Private Industry

Academia has taken considerable heat over some high-profile data breaches in the last decade. However, a new visualization tool puts those breaches into perspective. Against the background noise of data breaches in government and the private sector, breaches in academic institutions are for the most part invisible.

The visualizer, called "World's Biggest Data Breaches," created by Information Is Beautiful, incorporates worldwide breaches for the last nine years involving more than 30,000 records. The visualizer puts data breaches in perspective by representing their impact either by total number of exposed records or sensitivity of those records.

By either scale, compared with other sectors, education is barely a blip. The following comparison shows academic breaches (left) compared with government, military, and private sector breaches.

education breaches versus government and private sector breaches
Click image to enlarge.

The live visualization tool itself allows users to click on bubbles to find out more details about individual breaches, including the circumstances behind the breaches in most cases. Breaches can be filtered by sector or by breach type (accidents, hacking, viruses, etc.).

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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