Change Your Passwords! Hackers Have Stolen More Than 500 Million Data Records in 2016
Life and Leisure

Change Your Passwords! Hackers Have Stolen More Than 500 Million Data Records in 2016


Thanks to breaches of government agencies and private companies, hackers have been able to get their hands on a mind-boggling 554 million data records so far this year. And just today a huge new breach has been reported, with hackers reportedly exposing 200 million user accounts at Yahoo. 

The vast majority of the breaches have taken place in the United States, with U.S. companies and government agencies reported nearly 730 data breaches during the period, comprising nearly three-quarters of all worldwide data beaches, according to newly released findings from data security firm Gemalto. Due to the differences in international reporting requirements of breaches, the number of breaches in other countries may be artificially low.

Data breaches increased 15 percent for the period, and ID and personal data theft accounted for nearly two-thirds of all breaches.

Related: 7 Easy Ways to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

“The theft of user names and account affiliation may be irritating for consumers, but the failure of organizations to protect sensitive personal information and identities is a growing problem that will have implications for consumer confidence in the digital services and companies they entrust with their personal data,” Gemalto vice president and chief technology officer for data protection said in a statement. 

Data Records

Source: Breach Level Index

A separate report released this week by Transunion found the vast majority of Americans are worried that they’ll be the victim of identity theft, and most don’t think that the government is doing enough to protect them from such crimes.

More than eight in 10 Americans believe that they’ll have their personal data stolen from a business or government agency within the next two years, and more than half say that their household has already experienced ID theft, online fraud or data theft, the Transunion report found.

Among those surveyed, 55 percent of Americans said they’d like government organizations to implement better security practices, such as two-factor authentication or biometrics, in which fingerprints or other physical traits are used for identification purposes.