A surge in computer hacking has led to the breach of more than six billion records so far this year, topping the total for 2016, security researchers said Tuesday.
Virginia-based Risk Based Security said in its mid-year report that it identified 2,227 publicly disclosed data compromise events through June 30 affecting business, government, medical and educational data.
"It is stunning to see the steady increase in the number of breaches impacting one million or more records," said Inga Goddijn, Executive Vice President for Risk Based Security.
The report said hackers are increasingly targeting employment and tax records. Some attacks successfully used "phishing" or spoofing or emails to obtain tax information from US citizens. Other targets included human resources departments, employment agencies and aggregators of employment data.
"While news of politically motivated foreign interference in election systems continues to dominate the headlines, the breach activity we are tracking this year is a stark reminder of just how many data compromise incidents are motivated by financial gain," Goddijn said.
"As long as information can be quickly monetized and systems remain vulnerable to attack, we should not expect to see any slowdown in breach activity."
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