Technology

2016 Data Breaches Expose 1.8 Million Records

The latest count from the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) shows that there has been a total of 110 data breaches recorded through March 1, 2016, and that nearly 1.8 million records have been exposed since the beginning of the year. The largest data breach to date was reported by Centene Corp. (NYSE: CNC) and involved medical information on 950,000 subscribers to the company’s health insurance products. The data were stored on six hard drives that were briefly unaccounted for and are included in the ITRC statistics even though the drives have been recovered.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) said it will mail out nearly 700,000 letters to taxpayers who may have had their tax records compromised. Since 2014, at least 724,000 U.S. citizens have had personal and tax records stolen by thieves who hacked a “Get Transcript” feature formerly available on the IRS website. Initially the IRS estimated that about 344,000 records had been stolen.

The total number of breaches in 2015 came to 781, just two shy of the record 783 breaches that ITRC tracked in 2014. A total of more than 169 million records were exposed in 2015. The 110 data breaches reported so far for 2016 equal the number reported for the same period last year.

Here’s a rundown of the ITRC report for last week:

  • The business sector accounts for the largest percentage of the total breaches so far this year, over 110,000 exposed records in 43 incidents. That represents 39.1% of the incidents and 6.1% of the exposed records.
  • The medical/health care sector posted 36.4% (40) of data breaches to date this year. The number of records exposed in these breaches totaled is more than 1.27 million, or 71% of the total so far in 2016.
  • The number of banking/credit/financial breaches totals four for the year to date and involves more than 4,000 records, some 3.6% of the total number of breaches and 0.2% of the records exposed.
  • The government/military sector has suffered eight data breaches so far this year, representing about 5.7% of the total number of records exposed and 7.3% of the incidents. More than 102,000 records have been compromised in the government/military sector to date in 2016.
  • The educational sector has seen 15 data breaches in 2016. The sector accounts for 13.6% of all breaches for the year and more than 300,000 exposed records, about 16.9% of the total so far.

Since beginning to track data breaches in 2005, ITRC had counted 5,810 breaches through December 2015, involving nearly 848 million records.