Over a billion data records were compromised globally in 2016, according to Gemalto’s latest Breach Level Index.
The report revealed that close to 1.4 billion records were involved in some sort of data breach, representing an incredible 86% increase compared to 2015.
Identity theft, the authors of the report explained, was the most common type of security incident last year, representing 59% of all data breaches.
As for the main cause of data breaches, “malicious actors” were found to be the most responsible for compromises (68%).
This was followed by accidental losses (19%), malicious insiders (9%), hacktivists (3%) and state-sponsored attackers (1%).
Ransomware was highlighted as a particularly worrying trend that has grown and grown over the past 12 months.
This particular threat was described by Gemalto as moving into the “mainstream”.
“FRAUDSTERS HAVE BEEN USING ENCRYPTION TO MAKE BREACHED DATA UNREADABLE, THEN HOLD IT FOR RANSOM AND DECRYPTING ONCE THEY ARE PAID.”
“The Breach Level Index highlights four major cybercriminal trends over the past year,” explained Jason Hart, vice president and chief technology officer for data protection at Gemalto.
“[Attackers] 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 organizations to infiltrating large databases 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.”
Last year, a study by Gemalto revealed that many IT professionals are unconfident about their abilities to keep their employer’s data safe and secure.
While 61% of IT decision makers said that they were confident that their perimeter security systems were strong enough to thwart attacks, 69% were of the opinion that should this section of security be breached, they were unsure as to whether their organization’s data would remain safe.
by Narinder Purba, ESET We Live Security