According to the data collected by the Breach Level Index (BLI) database, 974 data breaches occurred worldwide in the first half of 2016, up 15 percent from the 844 breaches during the previous six months (July to December 2015). More than 554 million data records were lost or stolen in the first half of 2016, compared with some 424 million lost or stolen during the previous six months. That represents a dramatic increase of 31 percent.

Identity theft appears to now be the tactic of choice for hackers and cyber criminals. This is a change from previous years when theft of payment and financial data dominated the headlines. The trend in which the theft of personal identifiable information has continued to increase has dominated the headlines over the last six months.

The five biggest and worst verified data breaches that we know of have been the Yahoo breach, FriendFinder breach, Myspace, LinkedIn, and Heartland Payment Systems.  For more on this activity read PCQuest.