Data leaks surge almost 500% at 27 billion amid pandemic

Data leaks surge almost 500% at 27 billion amid pandemic

Data breaches exposing millions of personal records are becoming the new normal. Data leaks reached an all-time high, rising by 492% to a record 27 billion in the first half of 2020.

The data acquired by Atlas VPN revealed a total of 2,037 publicly reported breaches in the first half of 2020. Compared to the same period last year, the number of leaked records through June 30th grew nearly sixfold from 4,7 billion to over 27 billion records.

The amount of records exposed in the first half of 2020 is 12 billion more than the total number of records leaked during the entirety of 2019. Additionally, it is more than four times higher than any six month time period between 2013 and 2020.

Misconfigured databases and services were revealed to be the primary cause of the growing number of data leaks. Misconfiguration may leave entire databases open and freely accessible to anyone, which consequently may lead to bad actors taking advantage of the sensitive data.

In contrast to the growing amount of records leaked, the number of data breaches in the first half of 2020 plummeted by 52%. However, the drop in data breaches is more likely to be the consequence of delayed disclosing of the events than the actual decline in the number of breaches happening.

The study by cyber risk professionals at Risk Based Security found that the rate of breach reporting slowed down at the start of the pandemic and has not picked up ever since.

The numbers are based on the research conducted by the cyber risk analytics team at Risk Based Security that analyzed publicly disclosed data breaches reported between January 1st, 2020, and June 30th, 2020. The study also contains disclosed breach data from previous years dating back to 2013.

Breaches in the first half of this year exposed an array of highly sensitive personal data ranging from email addresses to social security numbers and credit card details. People who tend to re-use the same email addresses and passwords across different platforms should take extra care as these credentials fall in the topmost commonly exposed data types.