As many as 7.9 billion data records were leaked, stolen or exposed as a result of 5,183 data breaches that took place in the first nine months of 2019, making it the worst year ever for data breaches.
This alarming statistic was revealed by security firm Risk Based Security which observed that based on recent trends, the number of breached data records could touch 8.5 billion by the end of the year.
The firm also noted that the total number of data breaches worldwide rose by 33.3 percent compared to the mid-year of 2018 and the number of records breached also rose by 112 percent. As many as 3.1 million data records were breached as a result of six data breach incidents that took place between 1 July and 30 September.
"Whether it’s a phishing campaign that ultimately provides malicious actors with a toehold into systems or misconfigured databases and services that leave millions of sensitive records freely available on the internet, it seems to be human nature coupled with weak controls that contributed heavily to the number and severity of breaches we’ve seen this year," noted Inga Goddijn, executive vice president at the firm.
Accidental exposure contributed to the largest breaches of data records
Goddijn added that a majority of data records were exposed or leaked as a result of accidental exposure of data on the internet by organisations. The fact that hackers are quite willing to take advantage of such data exposure has also led to a rise in the number of breached records.
"While malicious actors have been responsible for most incidents, it is accidental exposure of data on the internet that has put the most records at risk. This year over 6 billion records have been made freely accessible thanks to misconfigured databases, backups, end points, and services."
Internet security firm Norton also revealed earlier that the number of data records breached in the first six months of 2019 touched 4.1 billion and the number of reported data breaches in the period was 54 percent higher compared to the first six months of 2018.
According to insurance broking firm Gallagher, the first six months of 2019 also saw more than 500 million cyber attacks targeting local councils across the UK. Gallagher found that almost half of all local authorities had experienced an attempted cyber-attack on their IT systems since 2017 and 37% of them had experienced cyber-attacks in the first half of this year.
In the first quarter alone, an average UK business suffered as many as 119,659 internet-borne cyber attacks, noted cyber security analysts at Beaming who found that hackers used 442,091 unique IP addresses to target UK business, many of which were traced to other countries. While a little over 51,000 IP addresses were located in China, 32,386 were located in Brazil, and 31,131 were located in Russia.