California Attorney General Kamala Harris released a report on October 28 on the growing threat of data breaches on California residents.  According to the report, data breaches in California jumped 28 percent last year, from 131 reported incidents in 2012 to 167 in 2013.  The breaches affected 18.5 million Californians by putting their personal information at risk.  The report, which analyzed data breaches from 2012 to 2013, comes in the wake of recent news of massive security breaches at retailers such as LivingSocial.

“Data breaches pose a serious threat to the privacy, finances and personal security of California consumers,” Harris said.  “The fight against these kind of cybercrimes requires the use of innovative strategies by government and the private sector to protect our state’s consumers and businesses.  I strongly encourage more use of encryption to significantly reduce the risk of data breaches.”

The report outlined a number of tips and recommendations for consumers to reduce the frequency and impact of future breaches, such as regularly monitoring credit and debit cards for suspicious activity.  The report also included a number of recommendations to California lawmakers such as revising the breach notice law in order to strengthen the consumer notification procedure; clarifying the roles and responsibilities of data owners and data maintainers; and requiring a final breach report to the Attorney General’s Office.

The full report can be found here.  For continued updates on this and other cyber security news, follow the Consumer Financial Protection Law Monitor.