Identity Theft Still Tops Data Breach Stats


Theft of identities and personal information accounted for more than half of all data breaches and four out of ten compromised records worldwide, according to the Breach Level Index (BLI) for 2015, released early this year by digital security company Gemalto.

The BLI is a global database that tracks data breaches globally, measuring their severity based on multiple factors including the type of data stolen, the number of records compromised, the source of the breach, and whether or not the data was encrypted. The newest BLI findings reveal that 1,673 data breaches resulted in 707 million data records being compromised last year.

“In 2014, consumers may have been concerned about having their credit card numbers stolen, but there are built-in protections to limit the financial risks,” said Jason Hart, vice president and CTO for Data Protection at Gemalto, in a prepared statement. “However, in 2015 criminals shifted to attacks on personal information and identity theft, which are much harder to remediate once they are stolen.”

“As companies and devices collect ever-increasing amounts of customer information and as consumers’ online digital activities become more diverse and prolific, more data about what they do, who they are and what they like is at risk to be stolen from the companies that store their data,” Hart elaborated. “If consumers’ entire personal data and identities are being co-opted again and again by cyber thieves, trust will increasingly become the centerpiece in the calculus of which companies they do business with.”

Since the first BLI in 2013, more than 3.6 billion data records have been exposed. Last year, 77 percent of all data breach incidents occurred in North America, with 59 percent of all compromised records happening in the United States. Malicious outsiders were the leading source of these breaches, accounting for 58 percent of breaches and 38 percent of compromised records.

The 2015 BLI did have some good news to report, however. The retail sector saw a major drop (93 percent) in the number of stolen data records compared to the same period the previous year, accounting for just 6 percent of stolen records and 10 percent of the total number of breaches in 2015.

Gemalto’s Hart notes that it’s important remember that not all breaches are created equal in terms of the level of severity and damage that they can bring for companies and their customers. “Even if breach occurs, it can be a secure breach if the right security technologies, such as encryption, are properly in place to protect the most important and sensitive data,” he said.

Secure payment processing is your first line of defense when it comes to keeping your business and your customers as safe from fraudsters and thieves as possible. That’s why TransFirst® is committed to keeping our network invulnerable to data breach threats and helping our merchants achieve and maintain PCI compliance. As an added precaution, we offer a data breach security program to help you meet the expenses resulting from a suspected or actual breach of payment card data.

Talk to a TransFirst representative today to find out how we can help you lessen your chances of becoming a data breach statistic.

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