More Than 75 Percent of Stolen Data Contains Personally Identifiable Information, Study

Data breaches have become startlingly common offer the course of the past few years, and this has made a lot of users nervous because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up compromising their privacy and security online. A big part of attempting to ascertain the severity of this problem to any reasonable degree is figuring out how much of the information being stolen is actually something that could be used to identify various users, and a recent study indicates that this percentage is actually quite high.

The study that we are referring to was conducted by Imperva, and it states that around 75.9% of the information that has been stolen over a number of major data breaches contained what is referred to as personally identifiable information or PII for short. Since around 100 data breaches over the past 4 years were taken into account while this study was being conducted, suffice it to say that the veracity of these claims is not all that difficult to prove and it suggests that most users are currently facing the risk of having their credentials sold to the highest bidder.

A number of other disturbing trends were also revealed in this study, with one of the most significant being that security breaches appear to be on the rise since 2017. There has been a 30% increase in security breaches year on year since that date for a total increase of 130% in just four years. That’s more than double, and if security breaches keep increasing at that rate then this indicates that a number of really significant problems could end up occurring online that would give disproportionate power to various malicious actors and hacking groups.

If current trends continue, it is estimated that 2021 will see around 1,500 security breaches and the total number of records stolen during said breaches could be in excess of 40 billion. When you take the high percentage of records containing PII in each security breach, the number of instances where a user’s records containing personally identifiable information could hover around the 30 billion mark.

This report has revealed just how unsustainable the current online security infrastructure tends to be, and suffice it to say that major steps need to be taken in order to ensure that users can feel truly safe while they are browsing the web. A number of solutions have been proposed including avoiding creating honeypots of data through centralized data servers but rather storing login credentials on the blockchain, but at the end of the day these are just theories and more concrete steps need to be taken before any progress can be made in this regard.

While it can be easy to place the blame on users for lax security measures that they might take, the report reveals that 24.1% of data breaches occur due to web vulnerability exploitation, whereas only 1.2% occur because of weak passwords. This indicates that the problem is one the developer’s end, and they need to patch up various holes that might currently exist lest the current trend continues and the internet ends up becoming a very unsafe place to get anything done.
Read next: Research Reveals Many Fortune 500 Companies Use Extremely Weak Passwords, Can Be Hacked Instantly
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