A new report from The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) has announced that data breaches from Q2 are on track to hit a record number by the end of the year.
The nationally recognized non-profit organization, established to support victims of identity crime, tracked 951 compromises and saw 1,393 data events. This is a 114% increase compared to the previous quarter, which saw 445 compromises, and is the most breaches the ITRC has tracked in a single quarter.
While the news makes for unpleasant reading, it doesn’t come as a huge surprise. You just have to take a look at our list of data breaches from 2022 and 2023 alone to see how this trend has been on the rise for some time now.
It also seems that no matter the sector or size of a business, no one is free from the risk of potentially losing millions in damages.
Number Of Breaches Victims Have Increased By 153%
Back in 2021, the ITRC tracked a record number of 1,862 data compromises in a year. With the rate at which they’re appearing, the latest figure of 1,393 means we’re on course to surpass that all-time high.
What does this mean in ‘real-world’ terms though? The number of victims in the first half of this year has increased by 153%, rocketing from 62m to 157m. This could include any scenario from having a social media account hacked into, to bank information being compromised.
When it comes to the companies themselves, T-Mobile experienced the most victims – 37m – and PeopleConnect. Inc followed with 20m.
Eva Velasquez, President and CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Centre, has called these figures “historic”.
“The second quarter and first half of 2023 has been historic with regard to data breaches. Since we started tracking data compromises in 2005, only the full years of 2017, 2021 and 2022 have exceeded the number of data events recorded in the first six months of 2023.” – Eva Velasquez
The Healthcare Sector Is The Worst Hit
While all sectors reported a high number of data compromises, healthcare earned the unenviable title of having the most with 379. Financial Service firms were the next to follow with 241 compromises.
The report also found that phishing and ransomware were the primary methods used for cyberattacks. Malware attacks have also increased, this time by 89% over the same period last year. Considering the recent news of the US Navy’s TeamsPhisher tool, this rise in malware unfortunately doesn't come as a shock.
What Can Users Do To Minimize Risk?
The report found that while most individuals have been the victim of a data breach, few are taking strong actions to protect themselves, claiming it’s too difficult to keep up with all their credentials.
Interestingly, the ITRC has shown that a 67% increase was seen in no actionable information being given to users about the root cause of a compromise. Could this be a slight feeling of apathy owing to a near-constant stream of attacks, scams and breaches? Perhaps. But it does signal that businesses and individuals should take cybersecurity into their own hands.
Remaining diligent and practicing good cyber-hygiene – by using two-factor authentication and paid antivirus software – is the security advice given by the ITRC. According to Velasquez this will make “any information stolen or exposed less useful for identity criminals”.