Data loss increases by 164% over first half of 2017

918 data breaches led to the loss of 1.9 billion records

Data loss folder

Digital security firm Gemalto has revealed data loss related to hacks and other security incidents increased by 164% over the first six months of 2017 compared to the second half of 2016.

The company's Breach Level Index found that 918 incidents led to the loss or compromise of 1.9 billion data records, although the majority of these data files were lost in the 22 biggest breaches, while the losses related to other incidents were comparatively smaller.

However, worryingly, businesses involved in more the half of all the incidents said some of the lost data was unaccounted for, so the number of records lost could be much higher than those measured by Gemalto.

The majority of data breaches reported by Gemalto (74%) happened because malicious outsiders were able to break into the company's network. This has increased by 24% over the last year. But only 13% of records were obtained this way. Insider attacks had a much bigger impact, resulting in the loss of 20 million records in total.

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Identity theft was the chief type of attack, accounting for almost three-quarters of attacks. When looking into the number of records compromised, this is an increase of 255% compared to the previous period.

Sectors most impacted by data breaches according to Gemalto were education with a 103% increase in attacks and healthcare, although the number of records increased by 423% due large-scale attacks on the NHS and other health organisations.

"IT consultant CGI and Oxford Economics recently issued a study, using data from the Breach Level Index and found that two-thirds of firms breached had their share price negatively impacted. Out of the 65 companies evaluated the breach cost shareholders over $52.40 billion," said Jason Hart, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Data Protection at Gemalto. 

"We can expect that number to grow significantly, especially as government regulations in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere enact laws to protect the privacy and data of their constituents by associating a monetary value to improperly securing data. Security is no longer a reactive measure but an expectation from companies and consumers."

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