International internet security watchdog Gemalto has released the Breach Level Index (BLI) report of 2016 revealing that more than 1.4 billion digital data records were either stolen by hackers or lost last year, more than double that of 2015.
India, which is steadily embracing digitisation, is facing serious threat from cyber criminals. They siphoned off close to 36.6 million data records in 2016, an increase of 14 percent compared to the previous years.
"The Breach Level Index highlights four major cybercriminal trends over the past year. Hackers are casting a wider net and are using easily-attainable account and identity information as a starting point for high value targets," Jason Hart, vice president and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for Data Protection at Gemalto, said in statement.
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Hart also added that Cyber criminals, which used to primarily target the financial organisations, are now infiltrating large data bases using entertainment and social media sites.
And also, fraudsters are increasingly embracing ransom-based attack on large corporation. They are using sophisticated encryption-based algorithm to hide their trail and once they get their hands on the data, they hold it for ransom and decrypt them once they are paid.
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Among the industries, technology companies, especially related to healthcare were the most hit, accounting to 28 percent of the total data theft last year.
In India, about 34 million Kerala citizens were affected by massive data theft leading to leak of sensitive information such as income, name and date of birth. It was one of the 10 biggest data breach, said the BLI report.
Similarly, State Bank of India (SBI) suffered huge data leak and had to block millions of debit cards. This led to the formation of dedicated finance security cell in the state-run premium cyber security department Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT).