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Breach Level Index 2015: Identity theft accounts for over half of all data breaches

A recent study reveals that data breaches continue to increase with 888 occurring in the first six months of 2015, which has comprised of 246 million records worldwide.

Gemalto's findings of the Breach Level Index for the first half of the year showed that the number of data breaches increased by 10 per cent compared to the first half of 2014.

Meanwhile, the number of compromised data records declined by 41 per cent during the same period, in comparison to the previous year, which is likely attributed to that fact that fewer large-scale breaches have occurred in the retail industry compared to the same period in 2014.

Nonetheless, tons of personal information and identities have continued to be compromised, wherein the largest in the period was an identity theft attack on Anthem Insurance that exposed 78.8 million records, making up almost a third of the total data records stolen in the first six months of 2015.

Apart from this huge data breach, there's also a 21-million-record breach at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, a 50-million-record breach at Turkey's General Directorate of Population and Citizenship Affairs, and a 20-million-record breach at Russia's Topface.

The number of state-sponsored attacks accounted for just 2 per cent of data breach incidents, but represents 41 per cent of all records exposed, which is highly-attributable to the breaches at Anthem Insurance and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Malicious outsiders were the leading source of data breaches in the period, accounting for 546 - or 62 per cent breaches - compared to 465 or 58 per cent during the year-ago period.

Parallel to this, identity theft has remained the primary type of breach, accounting for 75 per cent of all records compromised and 53 per cent of data breaches in the 2015 period.

"What we're continuing to see is a large ROI for hackers with sophisticated attacks that expose massive amounts of data records. Cyber criminals are still getting away with big and very valuable data sets," said Jason Hart, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Data Protection at Gemalto.