Data breaches are surprisingly common, even in today’s age when cyber security seems to be at its best. In fact, in just the first ten months of 2022, over 15 million global data records have been exposed, leaked, lost, or stolen worldwide. Countries across the globe have suffered from data breaches. China has lost over 350 million data records, Australia over 50 million, and the United Kingdom nearly 150 million. However, nearly two thirds of all global data loss has occurred in the United States, totaling to almost 65% of all records lost.
States With the Most Data Breaches
On an individual state basis, California, Oregon, Maryland, Georgia, and Virginia have suffered the most losses. However, nearly every state across the U.S. has suffered losses in the millions, some even in the billions. In an attempt to tackle this problem, experts have identified the major causes of data loss in the United States. One reason is human error, as many companies or organizations suffer from employees that are prone to accidental deletion or misclicks, or simply have a lack of training. Another cause is malware. Phishing is far too common in the online space, as is spoofing and ransomware. The final main cause is unexpected events, such as hardware failure, software glitches, or external natural disasters.
Looking at Data Breaches on a Global Scale
Although countries around the globe, much like the United States, suffer from data loss, countries aren’t the only entities that are affected. In fact, 45% of retailers have reported an increased size, severity, and scope of cyber attacks against their data. In addition, between 2021 and 2022, over 5,000 global businesses experienced and confirmed data loss within their company. This is a widespread issue, as important industries like finance, healthcare, public administration, manufacturing, and transportation are all heavily affected by this crisis. Some examples of these data breaches are the finance incident in Ukraine or the transportation incident in Japan. In Ukraine in 2018, 100GB of data was exfiltrated from a loan services company. In 2022 in Japan, Toyota lost 300,000 customers’ emails to hackers.
Data loss is not a new concept to our global society, as we have destroyed or lost plenty of historical data over the years. Perhaps the most famous and devastating data breach in history was the burning of the Library of Alexandria, losing an estimated 571.4GB of data in one fell swoop. Other examples include, but are not limited to, the destruction of the Royal Library of Ashurbanipal or the loss of the Maya Religious Codices.
It is clear that data loss remains both a global and historical certainty, regardless of whether that loss is physical or digital. There is no way of ensuring that data is never lost, leaked, or stolen, but it is beneficial to be prepared for the possibility of these tragedies. In a world that is largely based online and the value of digital assets increases, the risk for these cybersecurity breaches also increases. Whether it is personal data or company data, cyber security affects us all, and is an important factor to consider when moving forward with data storing and sharing.