2017 Data Breaches Approach 1,200 Incidents

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The latest count from the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) indicates that there have been 1,171 data breaches recorded this year through November 15 and that nearly 172 million records have been exposed since the beginning of the year. The incident total is 21.3% 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 1,500 this year.

Cybercrime is not cheap for those who choose to engage in it. But the payoff far outweighs the cost, according to a report at Dark Reading. A recent study by security firm Recorded Future puts the cost of a “decent” credential-stealing Trojan at $3,500 to $5,000, not including costs for incidentals or the 50% to 60% commission criminals have to pay for money-laundering services or the 5% to 10% to deliver your profits via bitcoin or other method.

What makes it worth the money — and the effort — is that the payoff, after all those costs, averages 400% to 600% on a botnet operation. And if the criminals are successful, they can resell individually identifiable information for $100 to $200. The actual size of the cybercrime market is unknown, but estimates run from the low hundreds of billions to more than $1 trillion.

The business sector leads them all in the number of records compromised so far in 2017 with nearly 157 million exposed records in 606 incidents. That represents 51.7% of the incidents, and 91.4% of the exposed records so far this year.

The medical/health care sector has posted 27.7% (325) 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 107 data breaches since the beginning of the year. The sector accounts for 9.1% 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 60 data breaches to date in 2017, representing about 3.4% of the total number of records exposed and 5.1% of the incidents. About 5.8 million records have been compromised in the government/military sector.

The number of banking/credit/financial sector breaches now totals 74, some 6.3% 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 8,069 breaches through November 15, 2017, involving almost 1.06 billion records.