Data breaches increased 49% in 2014 to one billion data records compromised, with cybercriminals targeting identity theft as a top breach category, according to research by Gemalto.
The numbers, compiled from 1500 known data breaches, represent a 78% increase in data records that were either stolen or lost compared to 2013.
According to data in the Breach Level Index, originally developed by Gemalto acquisition SafeNet, the main motivation for cybercriminals in 2014 was identity theft with 54% of the all break-ins associated with this financial crime. Assaults which involved breaches of perimeter security where compromised data was encrypted in full or in part, increased to four percent from one percent.
“We’re clearly seeing a shift in the tactics of cybercriminals, with long-term identity theft becoming more of a goal than the immediacy of stealing a credit card number,” says Tsion Gonen, vice-president of strategy for identity and data protection at Gemalto. “As data breaches become more personal, we’re starting to see that the universe of risk exposure for the average person is expanding.”
Retail experienced a slight increase in data breaches compared to last year, accounting for 11% of all attacks in 2014. However, in terms of data records compromised, the retail industry saw its share increase to 55% compared to 29% in 2013, as hackers targeted vulnerable point-of-sale systems.
For the financial services sector, the number of data breaches remained relatively flat year over year, but the average number of records lost per breach increased ten-fold to 1.1 million from 112,000.