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The 13 Biggest Data Breaches of 2019 (So Far)

Nearly 31 million records were exposed in the 13 biggest breaches in the first half of 2019, with 11 of the top 13 breaches occurring at medical or healthcare organizations.

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4. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Number Of Records Exposed: 2.3 Million

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) said in March that FEMA violated the Privacy Act of 1974 and Department of Homeland Security policy by releasing sensitive personally identifiable information of the survivors of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria and the California wildfires in 2017 that went well beyond what was needed to verify their eligibility for the transitional sheltering assistance program.

FEMA released unnecessary personal information for the disaster survivors to its contractor beyond what's used to confirm eligibility during the sheltering check-in process at participating hotels. FEMA, gave the contractor more than 20 unnecessary data fields, including the applicant's: street address, city name, zip code, financial institution name, electronic funds transfer number, and bank transit number.

Prior iterations of the transitional sheltering assistance program required additional information such as applicant bank names and account numbers; however, the current program does not require this information. The OIG said that FEMA’s failure to provide only the required data elements placed disaster survivors at increased risk of identity theft and fraud.

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