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Gemalto exposes data breach findings

Gemalto's Breach Level Index identifies most-targeted sectors and types of breaches during 2015

Gemalto exposes data breach findings
The Breach Level Index revealed that 1,673 data breaches led to 707m data records being compromised worldwide in 2015

Gemalto has announced findings from its Breach Level Index, revealing that 1,673 data breaches led to 707m data records being compromised worldwide in 2015.

According to the Breach Level Index (BLI), 2015 saw malicious outsiders were the leading source to these 58% of these breaches, plus 38% pf compromised records. Despite these figures, identity theft remained the primary type of breach, accounting for 53% of data breaches and 40% of compromised records.

"In 2015 criminals shifted to attacks on personal information and identity theft, which are much harder to remediate once they are stolen. As companies and devices collect ever-increasing amounts of customer information and as consumers' online digital activities become more diverse and prolific, more data about what they do, who they are and what they like is at risk to be stolen from the companies that store their data," said Jason Hart, vice president and chief technology officer for data protection at Gemalto.

"If consumers' entire personal data and identities are being co-opted again and again by cyber thieves, trust will increasingly become the centerpiece in the calculus of which companies they do business with."

Across industries, the government sector accounted for 43% of compromised data records and 16% of all data breaches, the healthcare industry accounted for 19% of total records compromised and 23% of all data breaches.

The financial services sector also saw a nearly 99% drop, representing just 0.1% of compromised data records and 15% of the total number of breaches. The retail sector saw a major drop of 93% in the number of stolen data records compared to the same period last year, accounting for just 6% of stolen records and 10% of the total number of breaches in 2015.

However geographically, 77% of all data breaches incidents occurred in North America, with 59% of all compromised records happening in the United States. Europe accounted for 12% of overall breach incidents, followed by the Asia Pacific region at 8%.

In the Middle East, there were 17 incidents reported out of which 5 were from United Arab Emirates and 3 from Saudi Arabia.

"It is important to keep in mind that not all breaches are equal in terms of the level of severity and damage that they can bring for companies and their customers," added Hart. "Even if a breach occurs, it can be a secure breach if the right security technologies, such as encryption, are properly in place to protect the most important and sensitive data. Unfortunately, this year there were several major breaches involving personal data and identities that were not encrypted when they should have been."

The BLI is a global database that tracks data breaches globally and measures their severity based on multiple dimensions, including the type of data and the number of records compromised, the source of the breach, and whether or not the data was encrypted.

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