Skip to main content

Nearly 1 billion records were compromised by data breaches in 2014

Nearly 1 billion records were compromised by data breaches in 2014


Data breaches were up 49 percent from 2013

Share this story

Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

There were over 1,500 data breaches compromising nearly 1 billion data records in 2014, according to a report from the security firm Gemalto. The report, which was first spotted by The Wall Street Journal, shows 54 percent of the data breaches were related to identity theft — up from 23 percent last year — surprisingly outpacing attacks for access to financial information, which only accounted for 17 percent of the breaches in 2014. Overall, data breaches increased by 49 percent from 2013, and compromised data records jumped 78 percent in the same time frame.

Major data breaches are becoming all too common

The decrease in bank and credit card breaches and the increase in identity theft is not a good sign, but probably an inevitable outcome. "Identity theft could lead to the opening of new fraudulent credit accounts, creating false identities for criminal enterprises, or a host of other serious crimes," Tsion Gonen, Gemalto's vice president of strategy for identity and data protection said. "As data breaches become more personal, we're starting to see that the universe of risk exposure for the average person is expanding."

Major data breaches are becoming all too common. Anthem, the second-largest health insurer in the United States was hacked in January, with the perpetrators gaining access to a database with personal information including social securitynumbers and addresses for 80 million people. There was the major Sony hack, Staples was breached, Kmart was compromised, Home Depot's payment systems were broken into, and Target's CEO had to resign after credit card information for 40 million customers was stolen. Not to mention the iCloud hacks.

On Tuesday, The White House announced the creation of the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center (CTIIC) to improve cybersecurity nationally, in the wake of the Sony hack. The President also announced measures to protect companies that quickly report data breaches with the Department of Homeland Security, but these measures, while good, aren't enough to stem the tide of data breaches. "Not only are data breach numbers rising, but the breaches are becoming more severe," said Gonen. "Being breached is not a question of 'if' but 'when.'