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A recent report found that data breaches compromised a total of more than 4.5 billion records in the first half of 2018.

In its report “2018: Data Privacy and New Regulations Take Center Stage,” Gemalto wrote that its Breach Level Index (BLI) system tracked 4,553,172,708 breached data records during the first six months of the year. That number marks a 133 percent increase over H1 2017. The numbers of files exposed by data breaches every day (25,155,650), hour (1,048,152), minute (17,469) and second (291) also more than doubled over the previous year.

A significant factor behind this growth was the exposure of 2,555,000,000 records within the social media industry. There were just six breach incidents in the industry, with social media accounting for less than one percent of the total number of security events tracked by BLI across H1 2018. But two of those breaches involved large numbers of users. The first was an instance of identity theft in which attackers abused Facebook’s search and account recovery features to scrape the public profile information of “most people on Facebook,” or approximately 2.23 billion users. The second was a case of accidental loss in which Twitter asked all of its 330 million users to reset their passwords after discovering a software glitch that had insecurely stored their passwords.

Identity theft wasn’t present only in the Facebook breach. In fact, it was the most prominent data breach type at 65 percent of the total 945 security incidents observed in H1 2018. The second and third most prevalent types of data breaches — account access and financial access — followed far behind at 17 percent and 13 percent of incidents, respectively.

In terms of data breach source, malicious outsiders were responsible for 530 incidents. Accidental loss followed behind with 318 breaches, whereas malicious outsiders accounted for just 61 security events.

The incidents tracked by BLI in the first half of 2018 occurred all over the world. Even so, they were mainly concentrated in two regions: North America (559 incidents, or 59 percent of the total) and Asia/Pacific (339 incidents, or 36 percent of the total).

Gemalto’s findings highlight the ongoing importance of data protection and privacy defense strategies for organizations. For expert insight on how companies can work to bolster their digital security, click here.

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