Gemalto: identity theft dominating data breaches
10 September 2015 14:43 GMT

Franco-Dutch tech security firm Gemalto has revealed that identity theft accounted for 53% of data breaches in the first half of 2015, according to its Breach Level Index.

Overall, data breaches grew 10% in the period, with 888 breaches recorded, compromising 246 million records worldwide.

The firm noted that while the number of compromised data records declined by 41% during the first six months, that this was mostly due to fewer large scale mega breaches in the retail industry.

The largest breach in the first half of 2015 – which scored a 10 in terms of severity on the Breach Level Index – was an identity theft attack on Anthem Insurance that exposed 78.8 million records, representing almost a third (32%) of the total data records stolen in the first six months of 2015.

Other notable breaches during this analysis period included a 21-million-record breach at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (BLI: 9.7); a 50-million-record breach at Turkey’s General Directorate of Population and Citizenship Affairs (BLI: 9.3); and a 20-million-record breach at Russia’s Topface (BLI: 9.2). In fact, the top 10 breaches accounted for 81.4% of all compromised records.

“What we’re continuing to see is a large ROI for hackers with sophisticated attacks that expose massive amounts data records. Cyber criminals are still getting away with big and very valuable data sets. For instance, the average healthcare data breach in the first half of 2015 netted more than 450,000 data records, which is an increase of 200 percent compared to the same time last year,” said Jason Hart, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Data Protection at Gemalto.  

The number of state-sponsored attacks accounted for just 2% of data breach incidents, but the number of records compromised as a result of those attacks totalled 41% of all records exposed, due to the breaches at Anthem Insurance and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Identity theft remained the primary type of breach, accounting for 75% of all records compromised and slightly more than half (53%) of data breaches in the first half of 2015. Five of the top ten breaches, including the top three – which were all classified as Catastrophic on the BLI – were identity theft breaches, down from seven of the top 10 from the same period last year.

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