Data Breaches Have Exposed 172 Million Personal Records to Date in 2017

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The latest count from the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) reports that there have been 1,140 data breaches recorded this year through November 1 and that nearly 172 million records have been exposed since the beginning of the year. The incident total is 21.8% higher than at the same time last year.

In 2016, the ITRC reported a record total of 1,093 breaches, and at the current pace that record could rise to around 1,350 this year.

Equifax Inc. (NYSE: EFX) has reopened a website that lets anyone examine the salary history of a large number of American workers using just a person’s Social Security number and date of birth. The service is called “The Work Number,” was taken down in early October, but had resumed operation just over a week later, according to a report from Brian Krebs.

Equifax claimed to have improved the site’s security before bringing it back online, but the enhancements seem to Krebs to be barely adequate. Thousands of employers report employees’ salaries to Equifax, and the data are often used to confirm a person’s salary when that individual, for example, is applying for a loan. Either the company or the employee — who must be verified — can view the data.

The business sector leads them all in the number of records compromised so far in 2017, with nearly 157 million exposed records in 595 incidents. That represents 52.2% of the incidents and 91.4% of the exposed records so far this year.

The medical/health care sector has posted 27.5% (314) of all 2017 data breaches. The number of records exposed in these breaches totals more than 4.8 million, or about 2.8% of the 2017 total.

The educational sector has experienced 105 data breaches since the beginning of the year. The sector accounts for 9.2% of all breaches for the year and more than 1.1 million exposed records, about 0.7% of the year’s total.

The government/military sector has suffered 56 data breaches to date, representing about 3.4% of the total number of records exposed and 4.9% of the incidents in 2017. About 5.8 million records have been compromised in this sector.

The number of banking/credit/financial sector breaches now totals 70, some 6.1% of the total incidents reported so far this year. More than 2.9 million records have been reported to be compromised in the incidents.

Since beginning to track data breaches in 2005, ITRC had counted 8,037 breaches through November 1, 2017, involving almost 1.06 billion records.