Here’s Where Your Personal Information Is Most at Risk

Here’s Where Your Personal Information Is Most at Risk article image.

There were over 4 times a day last year—a record 1,579 U.S. data breaches in 2017, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center's (ITRC) 2017 Data Breach Year-End Review. That was a 45% increase over the prior record, set in 2016.


So far in 2018 (as of December 5th, 2018), there have been 1,138 data breaches totaling up to 561,782,485 exposed records, according to the ITRC. While that brings down the daily average below three-a-day, there are new breaches making headlines this year along with increased visibility on the dark web.

"With data breaches increasing at record-breaking speed, it's critical now more than ever that businesses and consumers take their security seriously," says Michael Bruemmer, vice president of Experian Data Breach Resolution. "It's not a question of if, but when, an organization will experience a security incident."

Here is a short look at the current index of data breaches reported in 2018 by the ITRC, which defines a data breach as a "compromise of user data that included personally identifying information (PII) that was the result of malicious attack or negligence (including employee error or accidental web/internet exposure) on the part of the organization housing the information."

Data Breaches by Industry

Business incidents have accounted for the most data breaches, 46%, through December 5th, 2018 with 524 data breaches recorded. Medical or Healthcare data breaches represent the second most incidents with 334, representing about 29.3% of breach incidents.

This is not surprising for some: Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute, pointed out at a recent Fortune event that personal medical data goes for five times the amount that financial or other data sells for on the dark web. (You can run a free dark web scan here to see if your email appears on the dark web.)

Meanwhile, breaches of three industries—Banking/Credit/Financial, Government/Military, and Education—together accounted for 24.9% of breaches reported. See the chart below for more detail.


Data Breach Records Lost by Industry

The Business sector accounted for 94.7% of records lost with 531,987,008 million through December 5th, 2018, the most of the five industries. Medical/Healthcare represented 1.6% of the records lost with 9,003,352, and Education sector reported 906,670 lost ranking third with.


If you feel like you don't have control of your information as a result of data breaches, here are some resource articles to help: