Number of Disclosed Data Breaches Down 50% but Exposed Records Up 400% in First Half of 2020

While there are some questions around the number of data breaches thus far, 2020 is shaping up to be a record year in terms of number of records compromised at least. According to a study on data breaches and compromised data during the first six months of the year, there have been just over 2,000 data breaches but 27 billion records exposed, which is 12 billion more than the number of records compromised in all of 2019.

This data comes from research by Risk Based Security, who has tallied 2,037 public data breaches between January 1 and June 30, 2020, a 52 percent decrease from the nearly 4,300 data breaches in the first six months of 2019. More than 27 billion records have been compromised in the first half of 2020, however, while around 15 billion records were compromised in all of 2019.

Some security researchers and academics are questioning whether the number of data breaches actually declined or if they are just going unreported. Professor of cybersecurity Steven Furnell said it is “more likely that attention has been distracted by the pressing demands of COVID-19.” Others have pointed out that the office exodus and change to remote working is more likely to increase the number of breaches, it’s just taking longer to notice and report them.
It may be that many more data breaches come to light in the second half of the year that occurred earlier, or it may be that hackers are going after bigger targets. Either way, the number of stolen records and the level of quality or detail for each record is what are most important, and based on the reported numbers so far it looks like fraudsters will have plenty of ammunition for years to come.

For more information:

Reported Data Breaches Down by 52% in 2020