The healthcare industry will be a target for data breaches next year because of the high value of medical records sold on the black market and the ongoing transition to electronic medical records, according to Experian’s latest Data Breach Industry Forecast.

Experian suggests that healthcare organizations continue investing in data security technologies while also training employees on proper security practices.

More than 15,000 data breaches have occurred in the last decade, according to the forecast put together by the credit bureau’s Data Breach Resolution group. The collection and credit industries also are generally considered susceptible to data breaches due largely to constantly evolving technology.


The top data breach issues and trends identified by Experian for next year include:

  • Data breaches at large healthcare providers and insurers will draw attention but breaches at smaller companies in the healthcare industry will have the most impact.
  • Vendors’ switch to payment terminals compatible with EMV Chip and PIN cards will not stop payment breaches.
  • Cyber conflicts between countries will negatively impact consumers and businesses. 
  • “Hacktivism" by groups targeting companies because they don’t agree with their practices or policies will make a comeback.
  • Campaigns of U.S. presidential candidates in 2016 will be targets of hackers.

The forecast included Experian's predictions on data breaches for 2015 and how businesses fared. Employee errors this year were again a leading source of data breaches. 
"In 2015, research from the Ponemon Institute revealed that while more companies now have a data breach response plan in place, many are still not confident in their ability to manage a significant incident," according to the report. "Concerns regarding the effectiveness of response plans indicate a need for business leaders to reevaluate and audit their programs.

Companies should have detailed response plans in place should a data breach occur, according to Experian.

"The landscape has changed with hackers targeting organizations for different types of data that could be used for extortion or to simply cause harm," according to the report. "While traditional data breach threats remain, it is important that business leaders take note of emerging trends and update their data breach response plans accordingly."

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