Data breaches compromised 4.5 billion records in first half of 2018 – Gemalto

Hohoe (V/R), Oct. 11, GNA – A global database
of public data breaches, revealing 945 data breaches led to 4.5 billion data
records being compromised worldwide in the first half of 2018, says Gemalto, a
digital security company.

Compared to the same period in 2017, the
number of lost, stolen or compromised records increased by a staggering 133
percent, though the total number of breaches slightly decreased over the same
period, signaling an increase in the severity of each incident, it said in a
release copied to the Ghana News Agency.

It indicates a total of six social media
breaches, including the Cambridge Analytica-Facebook incident, accounted for
over 56 percent of total records compromised.

It said of the 945 data breaches, 189 (20
percent of all breaches) had an unknown or unaccounted number of compromised
data records.

The Breach Level Index is a global database
that tracks data breaches and measures their severity based on multiple
dimensions, including the number of records compromised, the type of data, the
source of the breach, how the data was used, and whether or not the data was

By assigning a severity score to each breach,
the Index provides a comparative list of breaches, distinguishing data breaches
that are not serious versus those that are truly impactful.

According to the Breach Level Index, almost 15
billion data records have been exposed since 2013, when the index began
benchmarking publicly disclosed data breaches.

It said during the first six months of 2018,
more than 25 million records were compromised or exposed every day, or 291
records every second, including medical, credit card and/or financial data or
personally identifiable information.

This is particularly concerning, since only
one percent of the stolen, lost or compromised data records were protected by
encryption to render the information useless, a percent-and-a-half drop
compared to the first six months of 2017.

Jason Hart, Vice President and Chief
Technology Officer for Data Protection at Gemalto, said “obviously, this
year social media has been the top industry and threat vector for the
compromise of personal data, a trend we can expect to continue with more and
more sectors leveraging these platforms to reach key audiences, especially
political teams gearing up for major elections.”

“We also expect to see more data breaches
reported by European Union countries bound by the new General Data Protection
Regulation and in Australia with the new Notifiable Data Breaches law. We
should be careful not to misconstrue this as an increase in overall incidents
in these areas but rather as a more accurate reflection of what is actually
going on.”

Primary Sources of Data Breaches

It said malicious outsiders caused the largest
percentage of data breaches (56 percent), a slight decrease of almost seven
percent over the second half of 2017 and accounted for over 80 percent of all
stolen, compromised or lost records.

Accidental loss accounted for over 879 million
(9 percent) of the records lost this half, the second most popular cause of
data breaches representing over one third of incidents.

It noted the number of records and incidents
involved in malicious insider attacks fell by 50 percent this half compared to
the same time period in 2017.

Leading Types of Data Breaches

Identity theft continues to be the leading
type of data breach, as it has been since Gemalto first started tracking in
2013. While the number of identity theft breaches increased by 13 percent over
the second half of 2017 to just over 64 percent, the number of records stolen
through these incidents increased by 539 percent, representing over 87 percent
of all records stolen.

Financial access incidents show a disturbing
trend in the escalation of severity. Though overall incident numbers are on the
decline H1 2017 vs. H1 2018 (171 for H1 2017 and 123 for H1 2018), the number
of records breached increased H1 2017 vs. H1 2018 (2.7 million and 359million)

Industries Most Affected by Data Breaches

The index said most sectors saw an increase in
the number of incidents compared to the previous half – the exceptions were
government, professional services, retail and technology, though both
government and retail saw an increase in the number of records breached through
fewer events.

Healthcare continues to lead in number of
incidents (27 percent). The largest such incident, 211 LA County, exposed 3.5
million records through accidental loss.

Social media ranks top for number of records
breached (56 percent) due to the high-profile customer data compromises at
Facebook and Twitter, involving 2.2 billion and 336 million respectively.

Geographic Distribution of Data Breaches

North America still makes up the majority of
all breaches and the number of compromised records, 59 and 72 percent

The United States is still by far and away the
most popular target for attacks, representing more than 57 percent of global
breaches and accounting for 72 percent of all records stolen, though overall
incidents are down 17 percent over the prior half.

It said with the implementation of the
Notifiable Data Breaches law, the number of incidents in Australia increased dramatically
from 18 to 308 as could be expected.

Europe saw 36 percent fewer incidents but a 28
percent increase in the number of records breached indicating growing severity
of attacks.

The United Kingdom remains the most breached
country in the region. With the General Data Protection Regulation in full
effect for the second half of 2018, the number of reported incidents could
begin to rise.

It indicated Sub-Saharan Africa is a high risk
area but silent on data.


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