Data breaches exposed over 707 million records in 2015

But the good news is that the total number of breaches dropped by 3.4 percent from 2014.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

Over 707 million records were stolen last year in 1,673 separate data breaches, a new report says.

That equates to about 1.9 million records stolen every day, or about 22 records every second, according to Gemalto researchers.

Compared to 2014, the number of data breaches declined by 3.4 percent, and the total number of compromised records fell by 39 percent.

But the report said that the number is likely to be understated as almost half of the companies that reported a data breach had an unknown number of records stolen.

Out of the breaches, almost two-thirds were carried out by malicious actors. Most of the attacks were focused on the government sector, which led the breach index, accounting for 43 percent of the year's lost or stolen records, or about 307 million records.

Two significant breaches -- including the hack that targeted the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and another targeting a Turkish government agency -- accounted for the theft of over 77 million records alone.

Although many of the cases were high-profile in nature, the data points to mostly smaller breaches.

North America took the brunt of most breaches, accounting for 77 percent of all breaches, resulting in 460 million records stolen, or 65 percent of the total.

The researchers said that the predominance of North America is "due to the more stringent data breach disclosure laws in the United States compared with other countries."

These companies lost your data in 2015's biggest hacks, breaches

Editorial standards