Sensitive, protected, confidential data went from being exposed 35.7 million times in 2008 to 10 times that number in 2018. 2019 is already worse.
There are a lot of data breaches happening these days, as more and more companies and services find their security tested by hackers determined to get at all that juicy and lucrative data.
The numbers in the infographic below from CurrentWare.com tell the tale: Breaches (in the United States specifically) over the last decade-plus have gotten ludicrously out of hand. In 2008, there were 656 reported data breaches that exposed 35.7 million data records. By 2018, the number of breaches had almost doubled — and the amount of data exposed was 10 times as high.
That sounds bad enough bad on the surface, but a nuanced look at the info from Statista shows that the numbers fluctuate down and up depending on the year. For example, 2017 was a terrible year for data breaches, with the count hitting 1,632. But the second-worst year for exposed records was 2009, when 222.5 million records were exfiltrated. (Much of this data comes from the Identify Theft Resource Center.)
2009 was the year of the Heartland Payment Systems hack, when 130 million credit card records alone were snatched; it was the biggest data theft in history at the time. It has since been out-hacked by breaches (or been victims of slipshod security) at Adobe, Equifax, eBay, Yahoo (twice), Marriott, Adobe, and even Adult Friend Finder.
Break the breaches of 2018 down by industry and you’ll see that business, in general, is the hardest hit. Second is medical/healthcare, then banking/credit/financial institutions.
You’ll find more tidbits in the infographic below. Remember, you can have as strong a password as you can think up, but it won’t help you when the institutions holding onto your data get hacked. Chances are, most of them have already been cracked open like digital eggs. We simply may not find out about it right away.
Originally published at www.pcmag.com.