Cyber crime: biggest online data breaches as of 2020

The biggest data breach as of April 2020 was thr summer 2018 security breach of sales intelligence company Apollo. During the security breach, over 9 billion data points related to companies and organizations were revealed. In August 2016, a 2014 hack of online platform Yahoo was uncovered, affecting at least 500 million users accounts. In December 2016, the company revealed another hack dating back to 2013, which affected 1 billion user records. The impact of the second reported Yahoo hack was updated in October 2017, when the company revealed that 3 billion accounts had been affected, making it the largest data breach in the company's history.

Compromised data records in data breaches – additional information

With the increasing use of digital files and reliance on digital data by many corporations, data breaches have become fairly common in the last decade or so. For example, the number of data breaches in the U.S. increased from 157 million in 2005 to 1.47 billion in 2019, while the number of exposed records jumped from around 67 million to 164.7 million during the same time frame. The largest consumer data breach of all time was a hack of Yahoo, which dates to late 2014 but it was only uncovered in 2016. The company advised all its users to change their passwords and take further measures to secure their accounts.

Identity theft is the most common type of data breach incident in the world. In 2018, identity theft accounted for more than 65 percent of all global data breaches, and about 40 percent of all compromised records that year. The services sector had the highest number of identities exposed that year – over 914 million. This figure accounted for just over 90 percent of all identities were exposed through data breaches in 2018. The financial sector is also highly affected by cyber crimes. Financial access data theft is the third most common type of data breach, accounting for 13 percent of all data breaches. In 2018, this sector had a total of 3.55 million identities exposed. The costs of cyber crimes are rather high for the financial services sector. Global cyber crimes caused, on average, a 18.37 million U.S. dollars annual loss for the financial services industry, the highest average amongst all industries.

Number of compromised data records in selected data breaches as of April 2020

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Release date

April 2020



Survey time period

April 2020

Special properties

based on number of records lost

Supplementary notes

* Yahoo: Dec 2016. Happened in 2013 but only disclosed late 2016.

** Yahoo: Sep 2016. Happened in 2014, but no. records stolen was originally thought to be much smaller. Yahoo revealed the real numbers in 2016.


Selected data from Information is Beautiful.

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