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Education Data Breaches Double in First Half of 2017

Report: Education Data Breaches Double in First Half of 2017

The number of lost, stolen or compromised records is up 164 percent in the first six months of this year compared to the last half of 2016, according to a new report from Gemalto. The number of breaches in the education sector more than doubled in the same period, jumping 103 percent, according to the report.

The report is based on the firm's Breach Level Index, a database that tracks data breaches around the world and measures their severity using a variety of metrics, including the type of data compromised, the source of the breach, the number of records compromised, how the data was used and whether the data was encrypted.

In the first half of this year there were 918 breaches involving 1.9 billion records, with "a large portion" of those records being compromised in the 22 largest breaches, according to information released by the firm. More than half, 59 percent, of all breaches had an unknown or unaccounted for number of records compromised.

The education sector saw 118 successful attacks, accounting for 13 percent of all breaches but only 2 percent of all compromised records — about 32 million. The number of records involved in the first half of this year, however, was significantly higher than the last half of 2016, up 4,957 percent from just 641,000 records last year. "This is the result of a malicious insider attack compromising millions of records from one of China’s largest comprehensive private educational companies," according to information released by Gemalto.

Financial services, at 125, and healthcare, at 228, were the only sectors to see more data breaches than education to start 2017.

Other key findings of the report include:

  • North America is the biggest target for breaches, accounting for 88 percent of the global total. Of the 808 attacks that took place in North America, 781 were against institutions in the United States, while Canada and Mexico accounted for just 26 and one, respectively;
  • Identity theft was the leading reason for breaches at 74 percent, up from 49 percent in the last half of 2016; and
  • Malicious outsiders were the main source of data breaches, accounting for 74 percent of breaches, but only 13 percent of all stolen, lost or compromised records.

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About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].

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