Data Breaches Up 25% to Date in 2016


In late October, three of the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) hospitals’ computer systems were attacked by malware that forced the hospital to cancel scheduled surgeries and divert trauma patients to other facilities. The hospitals shut down their computer systems in order to fight the virus.

The NHS did not identify the type of virus used in the attack, but it could very likely have been a ransomware attack. Ransomware criminals typically target hospitals, running through the computer systems to find files of value and then encrypting the data before demanding payment from the files’ owner to get the files back.

A recent report by Intel Security said that more than 20 data losses a day are related to ransomware attacks.

The latest data breach count from the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) reports that there have been 858 data breaches recorded this year through November 8, 2016, and that nearly 30 million records have been exposed since the beginning of the year. The total number of reported breaches increased by 26 since ITRC’s last report on October 19.

The number of breaches in 2015 totaled 781, just two shy of the record 783 breaches that ITRC tracked in 2014. The 809 data breaches reported so far for 2016 are nearly 22% above the number reported (666) for the same period last year. A total of more than 169 million records were exposed in 2015.

Here’s a rundown of the latest ITRC report:

  • Medical/health care leads all sectors in the number of records compromised to date in 2016. The sector has posted 36.2% (293) of all data breaches this year. The number of records exposed in these breaches totaled exceeds 14 million, or about 48.4% of the total so far in 2016.
  • The government/military sector has suffered 56 data breaches so far this year, representing about 41.3% of the total number of records exposed and 6.9% of the incidents. More than 12 million records have been compromised in this sector.
  • The business sector accounts for more than 2.5 million exposed records in 354 incidents. That represents 43.8% of the incidents and 8.5% of the exposed records.
  • The number of banking/credit/financial breaches totals 34 for the year to date and involves more than 26,000 records, some 4.2% of the total number of breaches and about 0.1% of the records exposed.
  • The educational sector has seen 72 data breaches in 2016. The sector accounts for 8.9% of all breaches for the year and nearly 500,000 exposed records, about 1.6% of the total so far.

Since beginning to track data breaches in 2005, ITRC had counted 6,619 breaches through October 26, 2016, involving more than 881 million records.

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