Identity theft risk: Data breaches at businesses increase

The Identity Theft Resource Center has released its most recent figures on data breaches at businesses, and they're not pretty. 2008 isn't even close to being over, and the number of reported breaches has already surpassed the total for 2007, at 446.

A data breach is simply a situation at a business in which unauthorized outside people get access to computerized confidential information. What are they looking for? Usually credit card numbers and personal data that can be used to commit identity theft.

The 446 data breaches reported here are simply a tabulation of each report of a business experiencing a data breach. They say nothing about the number of records or people exposed in each breach, which can be in the millions. The larger the number of records compromised, the more likely you are to hear about it on the news.