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Almost 2 billion data records around the world were lost or stolen by cyberattacks in the first half of 2017, according to the latest findings by digital security provider Gemalto, and the number of breaches reported by companies looks set to rise.
The impact of security breaches is also harming the share prices of affected firms.
"Two-thirds of firms breached had their share price negatively impacted. Out of the 65 companies evaluated the breach cost shareholders over $52.40 billion," said Jason Hart, vice president and chief technology officer for data protection at Gemalto, in a press release.
There were 918 data breaches which compromised 1.9 billion data records in the first six months of 2017, according to Gemalto's latest breach level index published Wednesday. The number of lost, stolen or compromised records increased by 164 percent compared to the same period in 2016.
Of these 918 breaches, 500 breaches had an unknown number of compromised records, while 22 of the largest data breaches involved more than one million compromised records.
Part of the increase is likely that companies feel more pressure to be transparent and reveal data breaches. New regulations such as the U.K. data protection bill, the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation and Australia's Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) Act are set to come into force in the coming months and years, and will push firms to disclose hacks and security breaches.
"We can expect that number (of compromised records) to grow significantly, especially as government regulations in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere enact laws to protect the privacy and data of their constituents by associating a monetary value to improperly securing data," said Hart.
"Security is no longer a reactive measure but an expectation from companies and consumers."
2017 has seen significant cybersecurity breaches. In May, a ransomware virus called WannaCry affected 200,000 victims in 150 countries. This month, credit rating agency Equifax revealed that information on 143 million Americans was compromised this year, as well as 100,000 Canadian consumers in a separate attack.
"We have become accustomed to data breaches, but the Equifax breach announced on September 8 is significant. This breach affects personal consumer data which people have no choice but to use: their social security numbers, a number which will permanently be associated with an individual," said Carl Leonard, principal security analyst at Forcepoint, in a comment earlier this month.
"Consumer trust in organisations is eroded by data breaches of this magnitude. People should also keep a close eye on activity on bank accounts and credit cards, and consider identity theft management services."
Meanwhile, the C-suite is increasingly concerned with cybersecurity as well. Cyberattacks are now the number one external risk factor facing businesses, according to 23.1 percent of 39 CFOs surveyed by CNBC.