Data leaks surge almost 500% at 27 billion amid pandemic

Data breaches exposing millions of personal records are becoming the new normal. The data acquired by Atlas VPN revealed that data leaks reached an all-time high, rising by 492% to a record 27 billion in the first half of 2020.

The research showed a total of 2,037 publicly reported breaches in the first half of 2020. Compared to the same period last year, the number of records exposed through June 30th grew nearly sixfold from 4,7 billion to over 27 billion records.

The amount of records exposed in the first half of 2020 is 12 billion more than the total number of records leaked during the entirety of 2019. Additionally, it is more than four times higher than any six month time period between 2013 and 2020.

Misconfigured databases and services were revealed to be the primary cause of the growing number of data leaks.

Rachel Welch, COO of Atlas VPN, shares her thoughts on the rise in data records leaked:

It seems that data breaches are becoming more severe, with fewer breaches exposing more personal records than ever before.  In addition, not all breaches are detected and reported immediately, which is why we can expect even more breaches that happened within the first six months of this year to surface well after the first half of 2020.”

Emails addresses are most likely to be leaked

Breaches in the first half of this year exposed an array of highly sensitive personal data ranging from email addresses to social security numbers and credit card details.

People who tend to re-use the same email addresses and passwords across different platforms should take extra care as these credentials fall in the topmost commonly exposed data types.

Emails remain the most targeted type of credentials three years in a row, with 42% of data breaches in the first half of 2020 containing email addresses.

Names and passwords are also among the top three of the most commonly exposed data types in the first half of 2020, with 40% and 36% of breaches respectively containing these types of data.

Data breaches seem to be growing in severity, with the first six months of this year seeing the largest reported breaches in history. Over 66% (18 billion) of the records exposed in 2020 were the consequence of merely two data breaches.

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