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Data Breach Total Rises to 83 So Far in 2016

Paul Ausick

The latest count from the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) reports that there has been a total of 83 data breaches recorded through February 16, 2016, and that more than 1.6 million records have been exposed since the beginning of the year. The largest data breach to date was reported by Centene Corp. (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 remain unaccounted for.

There were two unusual stories in the data security market this week. First, of course, is Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) defiance of a court order to retrieve the data stored on an iPhone that belonged to one of the assailants in the San Bernardino, Calif., shooting that resulted in 14 deaths.

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The second news story centered on a Los Angeles hospital that paid hackers $17,000 in bitcoins in order to regain access to its medical records. The hospital's data had been locked by a malware attack that prevented staff from using the records.

The total number of breaches in 2015 came in at 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 83 data breaches reported so far for 2016 match the number reported for the same period last year.

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

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  • The business sector accounts for over 106,000 exposed records in 32 incidents so far in 2016. Business breaches now represent 38.6% of the incidents, the most of any sector, and 6.7% of the exposed records.
  • The medical/health care sector posted the second-largest percentage of the total breaches so far this year, 34.9% (29). The number of records exposed in these breaches totaled is nearly 1.3 million, or 79.1% of the total so far in 2016.
  • The number of banking/credit/financial breaches totals three for the year to date and involves more than 4,000 records. Some 3.6% of the total number of breaches and 0.3% of the records exposed.
  • The government/military sector has suffered seven data breaches so far this year, representing about 0.1% of the total number of records exposed so far this year and 8.4% of the incidents. Nearly 2,000 records have been compromised in the government/military sector to date in 2016.
  • The educational sector has seen 12 data breaches in 2016. The sector accounts for 14.5% of all breaches for the year and more than 222,000 exposed records.

Since beginning to track data breaches in 2005, ITRC had counted 5,810 breaches through December 2015, involving more than 847 million records.

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