Imperva: 75.9% of stolen data in breaches involve personal information

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In an analysis of more than 100 of the biggest and most well-known data breaches of the last decade, Imperva Research Labs found that 75.9% of data stolen in these breaches was personally identifiable information (PII).

Above: The data breaches, records compromised and average record compromised per data breach per year: the volume of compromised records globally has increased on average by 224% each year since 2017, while the number of breaches has increased more than 30% each year.

Image Credit: Imperva

An in-depth analysis of more than 100 of the largest data breaches in the past decade by Imperva Research Labs reveals a bleak and troubling reality. Not only has there been a greater number and higher frequency of breaches over the last decade, but the vast majority of that data –- 75.9% — can be classified as PII.

The rise in both data breaches and the number of records compromised has been dramatic in recent years. Since 2017, the number of data breaches has increased more than 30% each year, with the number of records compromised per breach increasing more than 130% per year in that time.

More breaches, and those breaches are getting larger. That combination has led to the number of records compromised increasing an average of 224% per year from 2017 to 2020. To give some context to how dramatic the increase has been, January 2021 alone we saw more than 870 million records compromised. This is more than the total compromised records for the entire year in 2017.

Based on this trend we can estimate that year-over-year we will see around 3 times more records stolen annually. Assuming that this trajectory continues for the rest of the year, the numbers indicate that for 2021, there will be around 1,500 data breach incidents with a total of 40 billion compromised records, and an average of 26 million compromised records per breach. With more than 75% of being personally identifiable information, that means more than 30 billion records containing PII will be compromised this year alone.

Read the full research from Imperva.


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