This is according to the Breach Level Index (BLI), released by Gemalto a world leader in digital security, which indicated an estimated 1 billion data records were compromised in 2014. The numbers indicate a 78 per cent increase in the number of data records that were either stolen or lost in comparison to 2013.
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Identity theft was at the top of the BLI with 54 per cent of all the data breaches falling in that category. Identity theft also accounted for a third of the most severe data breaches.
“We’re clearly seeing a shift in the tactics of cyber criminals, with long-term identity theft becoming more of a goal than the immediacy of stealing a credit card number,” said Tsion Gonen, VP of Strategy for Identity and Data Protection at Gemalto.
When it comes to industries, retail accounted for 11 per cent of all data breaches and the number of records compromised was at 55 per cent.
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The financial services sector recorded that the average number of records lost per breach was 1.1 million, a significant increase from 112, 000 which was reported in the previous year.
“Not only are data breach numbers rising, but the breaches are becoming more severe. Being breached is not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when.’ Breach prevention and threat monitoring can only go so far and do not always keep the cyber criminals out,” added Gonen.
“Companies need to adopt a data-centric view of digital threats starting with better identity and access control techniques such as multi-factor authentication and the use of encryption and key management to secure sensitive data. That way, if the data is stolen it is useless to the thieves.”