A Study Analyses The Top 100 Data Breaches Over The Past 15 Years, Demonstrating How The Online Security Landscape Has Changed

The cloud protection company Nightfall has recently published a report that analyses the top 100 data breaches over the past 15 years.

Nightfall's a company that brands itself as a protector of sensitive, cloud based information. To this end, the company's been rather successful, and has even developed an API system that communicates with many other companies and their products. Prominent examples include GitHub, Google Drive, Slack, Confluence, and Jira. It's provided services include safety scan across all of these online platforms, as well is actively detailing whatever sensitive data is vulnerable to third party siphoning. As a matter of fact, owing to the company’s firm attitude towards online security, it makes perfect sense for Nightfall to publish such analytical pieces. Not only is this article a good look at how the online landscape is evolving and changing, it also pulls double duty as advertising for the company's own security services.

This study’s parameters include analyzing a hundred separate data breaches, from the years 2004 to 2020. The hundred breaches were considered on the basis of the number of individuals affected, as well as the number of records and other such sensitive information being exposed. Records were defined by the study as any sort of information that pertained to either individual users (i.e. IP addresses), or to the internal workings of organizations (emails, documents, etc.). The purpose of detailing such information is to avoid any unnecessary conflation in reported figures and numbers.

A major highlight of the study ended up detailing how frequent major data breaches were becoming. While 2004 saw only a single significant breach, 2018 by comparison witnessed 21 separate incidents. That number itself is also a 250% increase from 22017s recorded 6. While it should be noted that 2020 actually witnessed a down swing in breaches, at a total of 12, cyber attacks have seemed to become a norm of the internet space.

Of the types of records that were acquired in breaches, names took the cake, as they accounted for 64% of all breached information. Alarmingly enough, email and home addresses follow in at second and third position, accounting for 54% and 33% respectively. Of the industries affected by such breaches, social media accounts for a major 20% share of all attacks. Next in line is telecommunications at 10%. The industry data also aligns perfectly with the records breached, as both social media and telecommunications often have access to personal information such as names, email IDs, and home addresses.

Read next: Can’t Remember Your Password? Just Ask a Hacker
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