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Malicious insiders are not the number one security threat

There have been 1,673 data breaches last year. They have led to 707 million data records being compromised. Those are the results of a new report by digital security firm Gemalto, entitled Breach Level Index.

The Breach Level Index tracks all data breaches worldwide, looking at their size, severity, as well as the number of records compromised.

Since the company began tracking data breaches in 2013, more than 3.6 billion data records have been exposed, Gemalto said in a press release. Last year, malicious outsiders were the number one source of these breaches, accounting for 58 per cent. Accidental loss accounted for 36 per cent, state-sponsored attacks 2 per cent, and malicious insiders accounted for 14 per cent.

Looking at compromised records, malicious outsiders accounted for 38 per cent, state-sponsored attacks for 15 per cent and malicious insiders 7 per cent.

The majority of breaches (77 per cent) occurred in North America, with 59 per cent of those being in the United States.

Europe accounted for 12 per cent, and Asia Pacific for 8 per cent.

"In 2014, consumers may have been concerned about having their credit card numbers stolen, but there are built-in protections to limit the financial risks," said Jason Hart, vice president and chief technology officer for data protection at Gemalto.

"However, in 2015 criminals shifted to attacks on personal information and identity theft, which are much harder to remediate once they are stolen. As companies and devices collect ever-increasing amounts of customer information and as consumers' online digital activities become more diverse and prolific, more data about what they do, who they are and what they like is at risk to be stolen from the companies that store their data. If consumers' entire personal data and identities are being co-opted again and again by cyber thieves, trust will increasingly become the centrepiece in the calculus of which companies they do business with."