According to a report by IBM entitled "2018 IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index", cybercriminals shifted their focus on launching ransomware and destructive attacks, more than 2.9 billion records were reportedly breached last year.
This is an improvement and down four billion disclosed in 2016.
Wendi Whitmore, Global Lead, IBM X-Force Incident Response and Intelligence Services (IRIS), said in a statement that last year, there was a clear focus by criminals to lock or delete data, not just steal it, through ransomware attacks.
"These attacks are not quantified by records breached, but have proven to be as, if not more, costly to organisations than a traditional data breach", Whitmore added.
The findings showed that inadvertent activity such as misconfigured Cloud infrastructure was responsible for the exposure of nearly 70 percent of compromised records tracked by IBM X-Force that runs spam traps globally and monitors cyber attacks daily.
The report also said that for the second year in a row, the Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) industry suffered the most cyberattacks against it, accounting for 27 percent of attacks across all sectors.
In 2017, it fell to the third-most attacked (17 percent) -- behind Information and Communications Technology (33 percent) and Manufacturing (18 percent) -- yet saw the most security incidents (27 percent) those requiring further investigation as compared to other industries.
Overall, ransomware incidents have cost organisations more than $8 billion in 2017.