2021 on target for a record-breaking year of data breaches

BY Callum Clark / ON Oct 11, 2021

The number of data breaches publicly reported so far this year has already exceeded the total for 2020, putting 2021 on track to be the biggest year for data breaches, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC).

Data breaches are becoming more and more common, especially with the rise of remote working and BYOD schemes being adopted off the back of that.

The figure for Q3 breach volumes comes in at 446 incidents putting the total for the year-to-date at 1291 breaches, versus 1108 in 2020.

Data-Breaches-2021-graph

Source: ITRC 2021

In 2021 alone, there have been over 281,451,400 data compromise victims due to a rise in cybercrime, most notably was T-Mobiles data breach earlier this year where it was confirmed the records of 50 million people had been stolen.

2017 set the all-time high record for breaches, but with the rise of phishing attacks and ransomware, it’s predicted that 2021 could exceed that figure.

Eva Velasquez, president and CEO of the ITRC, said 2021 is just 238 breaches away from tying the record for a single year.

“It’s also interesting to note that the 1,111 data breaches from cyber-attacks so far this year exceeds the total number of data compromises from all causes in 2020,” she added

The ITRC’s figures comprise not only traditional breaches where malicious third parties steal data from organizations but also cases of cloud misconfigurations that lead to data leaking into the public domain.

The Importance of Preventing Data Breaches in Big and Small Companies

Businesses of all sizes, from large corporations to small and medium-sized enterprises are prone to serious data breaches.

Small businesses are more vulnerable to cyber attacks than larger corporations, this is due to limited budgets, lack of in-house security functions and a shortage of trained staff who know how to handle and prevent data breaches.

If a business is involved in a data breach it can lead to a loss of critical data imperative to business operations and growth.

Over 60% of small businesses that experience a successful cyber attack go out of business within 6 months of the original attack, that why it is essential to stay on top of your system security, some useful tools for this are vulnerability scanners that identify common, exploits and system misconfigurations.

The main reason that these businesses cease to exist after a data breach is a loss of customer trust, after all, that’s the main reason companies buy from one another, it is because they trust that their product/service/company will help them.

Safeguarding your data from potential breaches is an effective way to protect a company’s reputation. Hackers will always come up with a clever way to infiltrate networks and systems.

Businesses can outsmart cybercriminals by undergoing regular penetration testing, this is the gold standard of security testing.

It provides a forensic appraisal of your existing security measures and can stretch from a day to several weeks in length, depending on the nature of your organisation’s needs.

At OnSecurity our penetration testers have a highly developed understanding of information technology, security systems, internal and external testing, remote access hacks, network technologies, and web application vulnerabilities.

They perform a deep dive to locate and exploit weaknesses in your system - just as a criminal would - as part of a simulated attack.

There are also things you as an organisation can do right now to identify common vulnerabilities and strengthen your external perimeter, Scan by OnSecurity is a free tool and was built exactly for that purpose.

It’s a vulnerability scanner that monitors your external estate, finding and reporting vulnerabilities in your Internet-facing infrastructure before criminals do, so you can take action and prevent breaches.

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