Hacking by external actors caused most breaches, but Web intrusions and exposures compromised more records, according to Risk Based Security.
More than 6,500 data breaches were reported in 2018, a new report from Risk Based Security shows.
The breaches, both big and small, were reported through Dec. 31, 2018 — marking a 3.2% decline from the 6,728 breaches reported in 2017 and making it the second-most active year for data breaches on record. Some 5 billion records were exposed, or about 36% less than the nearly 8 billion records exposed in breaches in 2017. In addition, more records were compromised last year than in any previous year than 2017 and 2005.
As has been the case previously, a handful of mega breaches accounted for a vast proportion of the compromised records. In 2018, the 10 largest breaches accounted for approximately 3.6 billion exposed records — or a startling 70% of the total. In all, 12 breaches in 2018 exposed at least 100 million records. Organizations that disclosed the largest breaches last year included Facebook, Under Armor, Starwood Hotels, and Quora.
For a vast majority of breaches, however, the number of exposed records was 10,000 or less — as has been the case since at least 2012.
The medical and education sectors, often denigrated for having poor security, ironically enough exposed far fewer records than other supposedly more secure sectors. Risk Based Security’s analysis shows that financial services companies, technology firms, retailers, restaurants, hotels, and other businesses were responsible for nearly 66% of the reported breaches and a near identical proportion of the records that were exposed last year. In contrast, the medical and education sectors combined exposed less than 10 million records.
More than six in 10 of the breaches exposed email addresses, and about 57% involved passwords. The proportion of breaches that exposed Social Security numbers and credit card numbers — the two most valuable pieces of data for criminals — was somewhat smaller in contrast, at 13.9% and 12.3%, respectively.
Author: Jai Vijayan Freelance writer