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‘552 million user identities’ leaked in data breaches last year

Was yours one?

By CBR Staff Writer

User identity data breaches grew by 62% last year, leaving more than 552 million identities exposed, a new security report revealed.

Symantec’s latest Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR) reported that there has been a transformation in cybercriminal behaviour, with hackers scheming for months prior to executing huge data theft.

The report also added that the number of ‘Mega Data Breaches’ rose to eight during the year compared to one in 2012.

Symantec Security Response director Kevin Haley said one mega breach can be worth 50 smaller attacks.

"While the level of sophistication continues to grow among attackers, what was surprising last year was their willingness to be a lot more patient – waiting to strike until the reward is bigger and better," Haley said.

Those eight resulted in the data theft of tens of millions of records.

"Nothing breeds success like success – especially if you’re a cybercriminal," Haley added. "The potential for huge paydays means large-scale attacks are here to stay. Companies of all sizes need to re-examine, re-think and possibly re-architect their security posture."

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Targeted attacks, which rose 91% and lasted for an average of three times longer than 2012, firstly aimed personal assistants and employees in public relations to carry out breaches against high-profile targets such as celebrities or business executives.

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