In 2015, Identity Theft Accounted for 53% of Data Breaches

Since 2013, over 3.6 billion data records have been exposed through data breaches, and according to Gemalto, which has been tracking these breaches since then, 58 percent of the hacks were performed by outsiders. Identity theft accounted for 53 percent of the breaches.

Among the more surprising finds was the fact that the attacks had shifted from credit card and payment information to efforts to obtain personal information and identity theft. While stolen credit card issues are relatively easy to clear up, other types of identity thefts are more difficult to resolve.

Identity thieves are increasingly targeting distributed environment, including health care and government data, which tend to exhibit high inputs and outputs. There are more ways to enter these systems, say experts, which makes it easier for malicious outsiders to take advantage of them.

The accidental exposure or loss of data records was a significant problem in 2015, representing 36 percent of the breach events. State-sponsored attacks, which gained the most attention, actually represented only two percent of the breaches, exposing just 15 percent of the records.

Most breaches, 77 percent, occurred in North America, and 50 percent of the compromised records were located there.

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