Number of leaked files surge to a record 36 billion in 2020
With a global pandemic, devastating wildfires, racial tension, and political divide, it is not surprising that 2020 was named the most challenging year in the past decades. The year has been grim for data privacy as well, with leaked personal data records reaching numbers the world has never seen before.
Atlas VPN analysis based on Risk Based Security data reveals that exposed data hit a record 36.1 billion in the first three quarters of 2020. The number of data records leaked this year is more than two times higher than in the entire year of 2019 and make up more than half (51%) of all exposed data in the past five years.
The first three quarters of 2020 saw a 332% increase in leaked data records compared to the same period last year when 8.35 billion records were exposed. Looking at the historical data, leaked data records surged by a whopping 1,453% from 2.33 billion through Q3 in 2016 to 36.1 billion in 2020.
Leaked data records are on the rise, while data breaches are declining
A record-high number of data leaked this year is a result of 2,953 publicly reported data breaches. However, unlike leaked data records, data breaches dropped by 51% compared to the same period last year when 6,021 violations were reported.
Rachel Welch, COO of Atlas VPN, shares her thoughts on the topic:
“Data breaches are growing in severity, with fewer breaches exposing more records than ever before. Businesses should take note of this and make cybersecurity one of their top priorities next year. It is always better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to private data, as one unfortunate event can cost a company its reputation. ”
The most commonly exposed data types are names (45%), emails (36%), and passwords (29%) — all the key information needed for accessing someone’s account.
The healthcare sector continues to suffer the most
While no economic sector is guarded against cyber breaches, some sectors suffered more than the others.
The healthcare sector endured the most data breaches out of all economic sectors in the first three quarters of 2019 and 2020. Through Q3, 2019, the healthcare sector had 343 breaches, while in 2020, it faced 341 breaches, which account for 12% of breaches this year.