More data records were leaked or stolen by miscreants during the first half of 2017 (1.9 billion) than all of 2016 (1.37 billion).
Digital security company Gemalto's Breach Level Index (PDF), published Wednesday, found that an average of 10.4 million records are exposed or swiped every day.
During the first half of 2017 there were 918 reported data breaches worldwide, compared with 815 in the last six months of 2016, an increase of 13 per cent. A total 22 breaches in Q1 2017 included the compromise, theft or loss of more than a million records.
Gemalto estimates less than 1 per cent of the stolen, lost or compromised data used encryption to render the information useless.
Malicious outsiders (cybercriminals) made up the largest single source of data breaches (74 per cent) but accounted for only 13 per cent of all stolen, compromised or lost records. While malicious insider attacks only made up 8 per cent of all breaches, the amount of records compromised was 20 million, up from 500,000 in the previous six months.
North America still makes up the majority of all breaches and the number of compromised records, both above 86 per cent. The number of breaches in North America increased by 23 per cent with the number of records compromised increasing threefold (up 201 per cent).
Traditionally, North America has always had the largest number of publicly disclosed breaches and associated record numbers, although this may change somewhat next year when global data privacy regulations like the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Australia's Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) Act come into play.
Europe only had 49 reported data breaches (5 per cent of all breaches), a 35 per cent decline from the six months before.
The UK had the second highest number of reported incidents after the US, with 40 (down from 43). A total of 28,331,861 data records were compromised in the UK in H1 2017 (up 130 per cent from H2 2016).
Half of data incidents in the UK involved a malicious outsider (50 per cent), with 38 per cent attributed to accidental loss. Two-thirds of the breaches in the UK are classified as identity theft (65 per cent).
Government was the single biggest source of security incidents with 12 in H1 2017, ahead of technology firms (seven) and healthcare (six).
The Breach Level Index, which has been running since 2013, benchmarks publicly disclosed data breaches.
As new regulations such as the UK's Data Protection Bill and GDPR come into effect, the numbers of disclosed breaches could skyrocket. ®