Fewer data breaches but more records exposed

Data breaches are down, but the number of personal records potentially exposed to identify thieves soared this year. There were 444 data beaches this year as of Nov. 24, down from 656 in 2008, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center.

If the numbers hold, 2009 will be the first time the group has reported a drop in data beaches since it began counting them in 2005. But the number of personal records exposed has risen to more than 220 million records so far, a sharp increase from 35 million in 2008, and many more than the next highest total of 128 million in 2007.

Year Breaches Records exposed
2005 157 66,853,201
2006 321 19,137,844
2007 446 127,717,240
2008 656 35,691,255
2009* 444 222,077,187

* as of Nov. 24

Source: Identity Theft Resource Center

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