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More Data Leaked in First Half of 2017 Than All of 2016

In the first six months of 2017, 1.9 billion data records were leaked, lost, or stolen—up from the 1.38 billion instances in all of 2016.

SecurityWatchAccording to the latest Breach Level Index report, published by security company and SIM card maker Gemalto, incidents like the WannaCry/Crypt hack and the Deep Root leak, caused by "malicious outsiders" (i.e. hackers) are the main source of breaches. Malicious insiders were to blame for only 8 percent of breaches.

There were 918 data breaches in the first six months of 2017; most of the lost, stolen or compromised records came from the 22 largest incidents, Gemalto said, each of which involved 1 million+ records. But in 59 percent of the 918, officials were unable to determine just how much data was compromised.


Gemalto predicts those numbers will only increase. "We can expect that number to grow significantly, especially as government regulations in the US, Europe, and elsewhere enact laws to protect the privacy and data of their constituents by associating a monetary value to improperly securing data," said Jason Hart, vice president and CTO for data protection at Gemalto.

Every US state except Alabama and South Dakota—plus Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands—requires companies to notify customers of breaches, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That might explain why the US continues to report the highest number of attacks, with 781 breaches, versus 49 in Europe and 47 in the Asia/Pacific region.

The UK had the second highest number of reported incidents (40) after the US, leading Europe, where just two were reported in the Netherlands and Malta, with Austria, the Czech Republic, Italy, Lithuania, and Norway reporting just one leak each.


Australia and India jointly led Asia/Pacific with 15 incidents, beating New Zealand's five, Singapore's three, China and South Korea (two each), and Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan, all recording one.

Of all of the data leaked this year, Gemalto estimates that under 1 percent of all leaked records were encrypted. Individuals and companies are urged to expand focus from breach prevention to include encryption of all data, so that in the event of a breach, stolen information is less useful to criminals.

Enabling two-factor authentication, where possible, helps prevent attacks from happening in the first place; identity theft accounted for three quarters of all data breaches recorded in 2017.

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