California to step up cybersecurity efforts after hundreds of data breaches

From: Contra Costa Times/AP

By Don Thompson, Associated Press

SACRAMENTO — California businesses and government agencies have experienced 300 separate data breaches exposing the personal information of more than 20 million customer accounts during the past two years, leading state Attorney General Kamala Harris on Thursday to elevate cybersecurity as a key focus of the state’s top crime-fighting agency.

Harris said the California Department of Justice will begin playing a more active role in advising employers about cybersecurity, while her office will be taking the lead on a previously announced state-level investigation into some of the most significant nationwide data breaches.

The 170 breaches reported to the attorney general’s office in 2013 represent a 30 percent increase over the 131 identified the year before, when state law required such reporting for the first time, according to figures provided to The Associated Press. Among entities reporting breaches in 2012 were American Express Travel Related Services Co., Kaiser Permanente and several state government agencies, including the departments of Public Health and Social Services.

The second report analyzing the 2013 data thefts is scheduled to be released this spring.

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