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Cyber crime: biggest online data breaches as of 2021

One of the largest reported data leaks as of January 2020 was the early 2018 security breach of India's national ID database Aadhaar, with over 1.1 billion records lost. This included biometric information such as iris and fingerprint scans which could be used to open bank accounts and receive financial aid, among other government services. Two years prior to this 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 in fact been affected, making it one of the largest data breaches of this type to date.

Cyber-crime - the dark side of digitalization


As the world continues its journey into the digital age, corporations and governments across the globe have been increasing their reliance on technology to collect, analyze and store personal data. This in turn has led to a rise in the number of cyber-crimes ranging from minor breaches to global-scale attacks impacting billions of users – such as in the case of Yahoo. Within the U.S. alone, 1506 data breaches were reported in 2019. This was a marked increase from the 498 cases reported a decade prior. Meanwhile, an all-time high of 471 million personal records were exposed through cyber-crime in 2018 nationwide.

The high price of data protection


As of 2020, the average cost of a single data breach across all industries worldwide stood at nearly 4 million U.S. dollars. This was found to be most costly in the healthcare sector, with each leak reported to have cost the affected party a hefty 7.13 million U.S. dollars. The energy and financial segments followed close behind. Here, each breach resulted in a loss of approximately 6 million U.S. dollars - 2 million more than the global average. As cyber criminals become more skilled and the threat of digital attacks continues to rise, organizations worldwide are spending more on cyber security in an attempt to circumvent such breaches. As a direct result, the annual worldwide spend on cyber security and insurance has been on the rise, with the former having increased from 75.6 billion in 2015 to 124 billion U.S. dollars by 2019.

Number of compromised data records in selected data breaches as of January 2021

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Sources

Release date

January 2021

Region

Worldwide

Survey time period

January 2021

Special properties

based on number of records lost

Supplementary notes

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

** Yahoo: March 2017. Happened in 2014, but no. records stolen was originally thought to be much smaller. Yahoo revealed the real numbers in March 2017.

***

Selected data from Information is Beautiful.

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Statistics on "U.S. government and cyber crime"

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