Data Breaches in Record Numbers — 139 Million Records Exposed in 2015

Posted August 18, 2015

Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) Identifies 472 Data Breaches So Far This Year with Info for Millions of Individuals’ Data Compromised!

Whoever said records were made to be broken wasn’t thinking of them in the context of data breaches. Nevertheless it looks like 2015 could be a record-breaker. Even subtracting the 21.5 million records exposed in the attack on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in June and 78.8 million health care customer records exposed at Anthem in February, 2015 is looking to be a banner year for the bad guys. And it’ll be at least four months before a single note of auld lang syne.

In his article on, Paul Ausick reports on the ITRC study as well as one done by cybersecurity firm, Trustwave in June. Both studies provide fascinating insights into which organizations are in cybercriminals’ sights. The following has been excerpted from Ausick’s piece and edited to fit our format. You may find his complete article by clicking on this link.

Breakdown of one cybersecurity’s 2014 hacking incidents

Trustwave said that of the 574 hacking incidents and data breaches the company was asked to investigate in 2014, 43% came in the retail industry, 13% came from the food and beverage industry and 12% from the hospitality industry.

Most Identity Theft victims are unaware they’d been hacked

81% of victims did not discover on their own that they had been hacked.

2 weeks to stop a hack discovered internally. 5 months when discovered by a third-party

In cases where a company discovers the attack on its own, it takes about two weeks to stop it. When companies do not run their own security programs, it takes more than five months to contain the breach.

Breakdown of attacks on e-commerce and PoS

E-commerce sites were compromised in 42% of attacks and point-of-sales systems were hit in 40%. The totals were up 7% and 13%, respectively, from 2013.

ITRC: Business accounted for over half-a-million exposed records

The business sector accounts for about 645,000 exposed records in 184 incidents so far in 2015.

Second-largest percent of total breaches — medical and healthcare

The medical/health care sector posted the second-largest percentage of the total breaches so far this year, 35.6% (168) out of the total of 472. The number of records exposed in these breaches totaled 109.5 million, or 78.6% of the total so far in 2015.

Financial institution Data Breaches

The number of banking/credit/financial breaches totals 45 for the year to date and involves more than 411,000 records….

Government Data breaches

The government/military sector has suffered 36 data breaches so far this year, just 7.7% of the total, but about 20% of the total number of records exposed.


The educational sector has seen 39 data breaches in 2015, accounting for 8.3% of all breaches for the year. Nearly 740,000 records have been exposed….

Some historical perspective

Since beginning to track data breaches in 2005, ITRC had counted 5,497 breaches through [to this point in time], involving more than 818 million records.



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