4.2 Billion Records Exposed in 2016 Data Breaches

The estimates keep ticking up.

First it was 1.6 billion.

Then we heard more than 2 billion.

Now the total number of records breached in 2016 stands at a truly breathtaking number: 4.2 billion.

“Over the past year, 4,149 data breaches compromised more than 4.2 billion records, shattering the previous all-time high of about 1 billion exposed records in 2013,” according to this story posted on darkreading.com.

The stat comes from the 2016 Data Breach QuickView report, which Risk Based Security released on Jan. 25, 2017.

Six of the breaches on the 2016 top 10 list have taken their place on the “Top 10 List of All Time Largest Breaches.”

Yes, the number of breaches has stayed somewhat consistent, but they’ve gotten way more severe. According to the report, the top 10 severity scores averaged 9.96 out of 10.0 (the range is .1-10.0). The scores take into account the “total number of records exposed, the type of data exposed, the breached organization’s industry, the threat vector responsible for the breach” and more, according to the report.

Other takeaways from the report include:

  • The business sector account for 51 percent of reported breaches, followed by Unknown (23.4 percent), Government (11.7 percent), Medical (9.2 percent) and Education (4.7 percent).
  • The business sector accounted for 80.9 percent of the number of records exposed, followed by Unknown (13.1 percent), Government (5.6 percent), Medical (.3 percent) and Education (less than 1 percent).
  • Hacking was to blame for 53.3 percent of reported breaches, which accounted for 91.9 percent of the exposed records.
  • Malware accounted for 4.5 percent of the reported breaches.
  • Most of the breaches involved U.S. entities (47.5 percent of the breaches and 68.2 percent of the exposed records).


Is Your State a Top 10 Offender?

California alone accounted for 54.9 percent of the total records compromised in 2016.

The other states on the top 10 list, in order, are below. We’ve included the number of breaches and the total exposed records (rounded down) in parentheses.

California (234; 2.3 billion)

New York (104; 142.8 million)

Texas (105; 60.3 million)

Virginia (60; 49.9 million)

Delaware (4; 33.4 million)

Louisiana (12; 10.2 million)

North Carolina (37; 8.2 million)

Washington (39; 6.4 million)

Arizona (41; 4.8 million)

Ohio (53; 4.3 million)


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