2016 Data Breaches Account For Over 4 Billion Stolen Records

Hardly anyone will be surprised to learn data breaches have caused quite a lot of damage throughout 2016. New research by Risk Based Security shows how over 4 billion data records were stolen throughout 2016. Additionally, the company record as much as 4,149 confirmed breaches. Comparing the number of leaked records to 2013, there is a one billion increase. Quite a troublesome development, that much is certain.

2016 Was A Good Year For Data Breaches

Looking at the numbers, it is out here to see where the problem lies. Every confirmed data breach resulted in an average theft of 1.012m data records. That is quite a spectacular number, yet it also shows how criminals have an easy time when it comes to obtaining large databases of sensitive information. A lot of companies store over 1 million data records these days, and they are all falling victim to hacking attempts sooner or later.

As one would come to expect, businesses were the primary target for criminals and hackers. Over 55% of all reported data breaches came from enterprises and companies. However, there are other alarming trends people should take notice of. The number of breaches reported by medical institutions and governments has been increasing exponentially, which does not bode well for the future.

Although the report by Risk Based Security is anything but positive, it appears things can get a lot worse than projected. Company Executive VP Inga Goddijn stated how their findings may underestimate the actual criminal activity taken place throughout 2016. A lot of companies do not report data breaches, although it is equally possible some enterprise have yet to discover they were hacked in the first place.

It is anything but surprising to note Yahoo’s mega breaches made up most of the affected data records being stolen. In fact, over 1.5 billion compromised records belong to Yahoo alone, even though the hacks date back to a few years ago. That said, some other unspecified companies falling victim to data breaches saw over 10 million records stolen as well. Regardless of company size, hackers want the sensitive information, and they will obtain it one way or another.

What is rather intriguing is how the US and the UK make up half of all reported data breaches. The United States is the clear market leader though, with nearly 2,000 reports. Further down the top 10 are regions such as Canada, Brazil, Russia, and India. No country on the planet is safe from hackers at this stage, and that situation will not improve anytime soon.

Among the data being targeted by hackers are usernames, passwords, and credit card information. Some companies even leaked social security numbers and dates of birth, as well as mother’s maiden names. It is clear hackers are getting better at obtaining sensitive information. The bigger question is what companies can do from here on out to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself in 2017 and beyond.

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