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Report: More than 4B data files stolen worldwide last year, a record

By Allen Cone
Report: More than 4B data files stolen worldwide last year, a record
Yahoo reported 500,000 records breached in one incident and more than a billion in the other last year. Risk Based Security said more than 4.2 billion records in 4,4149 breaches worldwide were reported in 2016. File photo by Mohammad Kheirkhah/UPI

Jan. 30 (UPI) -- The number of data breaches and files stolen worldwide increased in 2016 to a record high, according to a new report from Risk Based Security.

The 4,149 data breaches exposed more than 4.2 billion files, according to the report.

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"There have been numerous sources discussing data breach statistics recently, however, their reported numbers are either not accurate or missing information when compared to our dataset," said Inga Goddijn, Risk Based Security's executive vice president. "While the number of data breaches actually remained relatively flat from last year, the big story coming out of 2016 is obviously the massive increase in the number of records exposed."

The previous record was 3.2 billion more exposed files than 2013.

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Breaches at FriendFinder Networks, Myspace and Yahoo accounted for more than 2.2 billion records compromised. Yahoo alone reported 500,000 records breached in one incident and more than a billion in the other.

A total of 94 breaches in 2016 exposed 1 million or more records, according to the report. But 50.4 percent of data breaches reported between one and 10,000 records exposed.

"As criminals expand this same technique to additional technology we expect more of this activity to come in 2017," Goddijn said.

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A total of 102 countries reported data breaches last year as the United States (1,971 incidents) and Britain (204) represented slightly more than half of all the reported cases last year. The other top breaches were: Canada (119), Brazil (75), India (71), Australia (59) and Russia (49).

"We simply have to recognize that we're not going to solve this problem with one handy new tool or one shiny new appliance," Goddijn told NBC News. "I am a little bit pessimistic to be honest with you. I think we might see the situation get a little worse before we see it get better."

According to a release, Risk Based Security provides organizations detailed information and analysis on data breaches, vendor risk ratings and vulnerability intelligence.

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