Last week Fortune.com claimed the “word” for 2015 was cybersecurity. It’s not too surprising, as headlines for the past two years have been fraught with news of big breaches and security hacks. Affected (and unaffected) companies are implementing new habits and establishing security standards to help mitigate their risk of being breached, while consumers attempt to recover and secure their personal information.

Data breaches plagued the United States in 2014. eBay was the largest breach last year, affecting roughly 145 million people. JPMorgan Chase and Home Depot combined exposed the personal information of 132 million people. Before the end of December, seven million other businesses were affected by breaches and hacks.

The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) also weighed in on the cybersecurity conversation last week, revealing that as of September 1, there have been 533 data breaches this year. From these, more than 140 million records have been exposed. Compared to 2014, the number of breaches to date is exactly equal.

Of the 533 breaches, ITRC revealed some other interesting facts:

  • Business is the largest sector affected by this year’s incidents, making up 39.9 percent of the 2015 breaches. But, business has only exposed 0.7 percent of the records.
  • The medical and healthcare industry has exposed the majority of sensitive records, 109.7 million or 78.3 percent, and is the second largest affected market (34.8 percent).
  • The government and military sector is also responsible for a large chunk of records exposed, releasing more than 28 million records.
  • The remaining markets, education and banking/credit/finances, makes up the remaining areas, accounting for 17.9 percent of the breaches combined.

For the entire data breach summary, please visit ITRC’s website.

The cost of these breaches continues to swell. In a recent post, we discussed that the average cost of a data breach is now $3.8 million. Yet many companies feel the sting of cybercrime in a different area: reputation. Companies experience a severe loss of brand value and market image under these circumstances.

There are steps you can take to protect your business. Check out our previous blog post on the topic for tips to help secure your company: Safer Internet Day Recap: Top 5 Ways to Protect Your Business.

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