The number of data breaches in the Middle East has risen 16.67 percent since 2015 as hackers become increasingly sophisticated, according to research.
New data from global cybersecurity firm Gemalto found that approximately 45.2 million data records in the Middle East were compromised in 2016, compared to 38.5 million in the previous year.
Globally, 1.4 billion data records were compromised in 2016 as hackers targeted large-scale databases across industries, Gemalto’s latest Breach Level Index report said. This represented a substantial 86 percent rise compared to 2015.
The healthcare industry was a key target for hackers, it added, accounting for 28 percent of global data breaches – an 11 percent rise from 2015.
However, the number of ‘compromised’ data breaches (involving sensitive, protected or confidential data) in healthcare decreased by 75 percent since 2015 as organisations get quicker at intercepting attacks.
Education saw a 5 percent decrease in data breaches between 2015 and 2016 and a 78 percent drop in compromised data records.
The government sector accounted for 15 percent of all data breaches in 2016, Gemalto said, but here, the number of compromised data records rose 27 percent from 2015.
Financial services companies accounted for 12 percent of all data breaches, a 23 percent decline compared to the previous year.
Sebastien Pavie, regional director of identity and data protection at Gemalto Middle East and Africa, said: “Hackers are casting a wider net and are using easily attainable account and identity information as a starting point for high value targets.
“Clearly, fraudsters are also shifting from attacks targeted at financial organisations to infiltrating large data bases such as entertainment and social media sites.”