Middle East data breaches spike; Gemalto
The Breach Level Index highlights healthcare is a top target for hackers
The Middle East recorded a 16.67% surge in data breaches in 2016 compared to 2015, according to Gemalto's Breach Level Index (BLI).
The BLI further highlighted that 42.2 million data records were compromised in the region compared to 38.5 million in 2015.
On a global scale, the research discovered 1,792 data breached resulted in almost 1.4 billion data records compromised last year, with identity theft playing a leading factor.
Sebastien Pavie, regional director, MEA, Identity and Data Protection, Gemalto, said: Hackers are casting a wider net and are using easily-attainable account and identity information as a starting point for high value targets.
"Clearly, fraudsters are also shifting from attacks targeted at financial organisations to infiltrating large data bases such as entertainment and social media sites. Lastly, fraudsters have been using encryption to make breached data unreadable, then hold it for ransom and decrypting once they are paid," he added.
The research noted that the healthcare industry remains a top target as the industry accounted for 28% of global breaches in 2016, however compromised data records decreased by 75%.
Education saw a 5% decrease in data breaches between 2015 and 2016 and a drop of 78% in compromised data records.
Government accounted for 15% of all data breaches in 2016. However the number of compromised data records increased 27% from 2015.
Financial services companies accounted for 12% of all data breaches, a 23% decline compared to the previous year.
"Encryption and authentication are no longer ‘best practices' but necessities," Pavie concluded.