Why St. Louis could be home to the next big data breach

While hackers have long targeted residents in big cities such as California, New York and Texas, those in smaller and less populated regions like St. Louis could be next, according to fraud analytics firm Rippleshot.

The number of data breaches across the U.S. has risen over the past five years, according to CEO Canh Tran, who said there’s been a trend in targeting smaller regions such as Kansas City, which saw a 67-percent increase in data breaches in October.

“What we believe is happening is that thieves are going to smaller sub-regional areas that are low-hanging fruit” that don’t have experience with breaches, Tran said.

No data for the St. Louis area was available, but the firm found that within a 1,000-mile radius of Chicago:

  • The average length of a breach lasted 97 days
  • The longest breach lasted 371 days
  • 30 percent of businesses that were hacked were small businesses with only one location
  • 87 percent were businesses with five or less locations

“We are detecting anywhere from 50 to 100 breaches a month across the U.S.,” he said.

The advent of the EMV chip, which is meant to prevent hackers from gaining personal and financial information, on credit cards is likely causing the rise in breaches as hackers are trying to harvest as much information as possible before more retailers install EMV card readers, Rippleshot reported.

Grocery stores, fast food chains and gas stations are the most susceptible industries to breaches. Gas stations especially are a prime target because they aren’t required to have EMV card readers for another two years, and hackers like fast food chains because of the sheer number of locations and that customers often visit them multiple times a week, Tran said.

Read more: St. Louis Business Journal


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