Story image

GDPR: 59,000 breach reports, 91 fines and counting

07 Feb 2019

59,000 and counting – that’s the amount of data breach notifications that have been reported across the European Economic Area since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect in May 2018.

That’s a conservative figure, according to February 2019 survey figures from law firm DLA Piper. It found that the Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom topped the charts when it came to breach notifications (15,400 breaches; 12,600 breaches; and 10,600 breaches respectively).

The Netherlands, with 89.8 reported breaches per 100,000 people topped the list when the number of notifications were weighted against country populations, followed by Ireland and Denmark. 

Of the 26 EEA countries where breach notification data is available, the UK, Germany and France ranked tenth, eleventh and twenty-first respectively on a reported fine per capita basis. Greece, Italy and Romania reported the fewest number of breaches per capita.

Meanwhile, Liechtenstein, Iceland, and Cyprus also reported the fewest breaches (15 breaches; 25 breaches; and 35 breaches respectively).

DLA Piper partner Ross McKean, who specialises in cyber and data protection, says GDPR transforms the compliance risk for organisations that suffer a data breach, because it hands down revenue-based fines.

“As we saw in the US when mandatory breach notification laws came into force, backed up by tough sanctions for not notifying, the GDPR is driving personal data breach out into the open. Our report confirms this with more than 59,000 data breaches notified across Europe in the first 8 months since the GDPR came into force,” says McKean.

So far 91 fines have been dealt to organisations under the GDPR – but not all of them relate to personal data breaches.

Google was fined €50 million earlier this year – the biggest fine to date under the GDPR.

“This was a French decision in relation to the processing of personal data for advertising purposes without valid authorisation, rather than a personal data breach,” says DLA Piper.

Other fines are lower in value, such as a €4,800 fine issued in Austria for the operation of an unlawful CCTV system which was deemed excessive for its partial surveillance of a public sidewalk. 

“Cyprus also reported four fines, with a total value of €11,500, and Malta reported a total of 17 fines, a surprisingly large number given the relatively small size of the country,” the report says.

DLA Piper partner Sam Millar says the regulators are just getting started.

“The fine against Google is a landmark moment and is notable partly because it is not related to personal data breach,” says Millar.

“We anticipate that regulators will treat data breach more harshly by imposing higher fines given the more acute risk of harm to individuals. We can expect more fines to follow over the coming year as the regulators clear the backlog of notifications."

Figures are from DLA Piper’s GDPR data breach survey: February 2019 report.

Veeam releases v3 of its MS Office backup solution
One of Veeam’s most popular solutions, Backup for Office 365, has been upgraded again with greater speed, security and analytics.
Too many 'critical' vulnerabilities to patch? Tenable opts for a different approach
Tenable is hedging all of its security bets on the power of predictive, as the company announced general available of its Predictive Prioritisation solution within Tenable.io.
Industrial control component vulnerabilities up 30%
Positive Technologies says exploitation of these vulnerabilities could disturb operations by disrupting command transfer between components.
McAfee announces Google Cloud Platform support
McAfee MVISION Cloud now integrates with GCP Cloud SCC to help security professionals gain visibility and control over their cloud resources.
Scammers targeting more countries in sextortion scam - ESET
The attacker in the email claims they have hacked the intended victim's device, and have recorded the person while watching pornographic content.
Cryptojacking and failure to patch still major threats - Ixia
Compromised enterprise networks from unpatched vulnerabilities and bad security hygiene continued to be fertile ground for hackers in 2018.
Princeton study wants to know if you have a smart home - or a spy home
The IoT research team at Princeton University wants to know how your IoT devices send and receive data not only to each other, but also to any other third parties that may be involved.
Organisations not testing incident response plans – IBM Security
Failure to test can leave organisations less prepared to effectively manage the complex processes and coordination that must take place in the wake of an attack.