New Delhi: In a major breach of data across the globe, 1.1 billion identities were exposed by cyber criminals in 2016, as per a report by Symantec. The number is almost double that compared in 2015.
The number of data breach incidents, however, declined from 1,211 in 2015 to 1,209 in 2016, the report by security solutions firm Symantec said.
While the US had a lion's share of the number of breaches (1,023), India ranked fifth in the tally with eight breaches.
Cyber criminals are adapting to various methods to distribute traditional malware to users via new ways like social media. Also, with mobile phones becoming more prevalent, they are devising more attacks on phones than computers.
In the last eight years, such data breaches have led to more than 7.1 billion identities being exposed.
The report cautioned that the number of incidents reported in the US could be high, owing to the strict legal requirements around reporting data breaches.
"Data breaches are often under-reported in territories where there are no legal requirements in place," Tarun Kaura, Symantec Director (Solution Product Management) Asia Pacific and Japan, said.
The size and scale of these attacks are also on the rise.
In 2016, there were 15 breaches that saw over 10 million identities being compromised. This number stood at 13 in 2015.
The year also saw ransomware continue to escalate as a global problem and a lucrative business for criminals with 36 per cent increase in ransomware attacks worldwide.
Symantec found 64 per cent of American ransomware victims are willing to pay a ransom, compared to 34 per cent globally.
Also, the average ransom demanded spiked 266 per cent to an average of USD 1,077 per victim, up from USD 294 in the previous year.
India ranked second highest in the Asia Pacific region and fifth globally as the region most affected by ransomware, as per the report.
With PTI Inputs