Data breaches in the US hit a record high in 2021 affecting nearly 300 million victims
Every year brings new data breach victims. The cost of a data breach continues to skyrocket. According to a recent IBM study conducted by the Ponemon Institute, data breaches cost American companies on average more than $8 million per incident, with big breaches (more than 50 million records) costing $388 million.
Many of the biggest breaches are the result of a shift in how the increasingly digitized economy operates. As companies have embraced the cloud, data is no longer stored in electronic fortresses. As we reported a year ago, most cloud-related data breaches were caused by cloud misconfigurations, which now cost enterprises nearly $5 trillion.
Now, a new report from the Atlas VPN team found US data breaches hit a record high in 2021 affecting nearly 300 million victims. The report, which was based on Identity Theft Resource Center research, found that the volume of publicly reported data compromises in the United States reached a record-high of 1,862, affecting 293.9 million victims.
While the number of compromises soared by 68% compared to 2020, the number of victims actually fell by 5%.
Overall, cyberattacks were the root cause of 1,613 or 87% of data compromises, with phishing, smishing, and business email compromise (BEC) attacks being the reason for 537 or 29% of all breaches — a 40% rise from 2020.
Cybersecurity writer and researcher at Atlas VPN Ruta Cizinauskaite shares her thoughts on growing phishing threats:
“Social engineering attacks, such as phishing, smishing, and business email compromise, remain one of the biggest cyberthreats to organizations both in the United States and worldwide. To effectively defend against sophisticated phishing scams, organizations must combine technology solutions with employee education, providing awareness of phishing attacks and other possible threats.”
The manufacturing and utility sectors suffered the most.
All major economic sectors suffered from data compromises in 2021. However, some were affected more than others.
The most impacted industry in terms of the number of victims was manufacturing and utilities, with 49.8 million breached accounts — a whopping 1,618% increase from last year. The number of data compromises affecting the sector also grew more than threefold from 70 in 2021 to 222 in 2021.
Next up is the technology sector with 44 million victims. Despite the high victim count, it suffered significantly less — 79 attacks.
The healthcare sector occupies the third spot on the list, with 28 million victims. It was affected by 330 data compromises — more than any other sector.
To read the full article, head over to Atlas VPN.