Infographic: Exposed Data Increased Tenfold in the Last Decade

Sep 20, 2019 · 2 min read

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.

By Eric Griffith

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 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.

These stats don’t even cover the crazy amount of data records lifted in 2019. It all makes the 92 million records stolen from AOL back in 2004 seem quaint.

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

PC Magazine

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store