There were 12,449 new, authentic breaches and leaks in 2018, an increase of 424% from the year prior. But the average breach size was 216,884 records – 4.7 times smaller than in 2017.
The data comes from 4iQ's "2019 Identity Breach Report," which analyzed breaches throughout 2018 and found cybercriminals are using more sophisticated tools and against poorly secured businesses. In 2018, the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) heightened security awareness around the world. Major corporations have reviewed their data collection policies and installed systems to protect themselves from attacks and noncompliance penalties.
Small and midsize businesses can't afford to take the same measures, as they have little to no security budgets and lack skills they need to defend against cybercrime. Large companies have historically been prime breach targets, but hackers are learning they can build stores of identity attributes (email addresses, passwords, passport numbers, etc.) from small businesses.
Researchers report 14.9 billion raw identity records circulated the Web in 2018, an increase from the 8.7 billion in 2017. Researchers say that underscores the growing use of identity data for account takeover, business email compromise, and other criminal activity. Government agencies proved the largest growing exposed sector in 2018, increasing 291% from 2017.
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