More data was stolen in the first half of this year than in the entirety of 2016, according to security vendor Gemalto, but the number of reported European breaches dropped 35 per cent.
According to Gemalto research, over 1.9m data records were stolen in H1, compared with just under 1.4m in all of 2016, representing an increase of 164 per cent.
Gemalto claims the data stolen this year has come from 918 breaches, with the vast majority from the top 22 attacks.
"We can expect that number to grow significantly, especially as government regulations in the US, Europe and elsewhere enact laws to protect the privacy and data of their constituents by associating a monetary value to improperly securing data.
"Security is no longer a reactive measure but an expectation from companies and consumers."
Gemalto's research found identity theft to be the leading type of data breach, accounting for 74 per cent of all breaches in the first six months of this year. The number of records exposed as a result of identity theft jumped 255 per cent.
Geographically, North America maintained its position as the number-one attack target, making up over 86 per cent of both total breaches and total records stolen.
Gemalto said that North America has always seen the most declared data breaches, but said it expects that to change once the General Data Protection Regulation comes into effect next year.
In the first of half of this year European companies reported 49 data breaches, reflecting just five per cent of the global total and a decline of 35 per cent on the previous six months, Gemalto said.
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