In 2019, a total of 7,098 reported breaches exposed 15.1 billion records

In 2019 the total number of records exposed increased by 284% compared to 2018, according to Risk Based Security.

2019 reported breaches

2019 saw an increase in reported breaches

In total, there were over 15.1 billion records exposed shattering industry projections. There were 7,098 breaches reported in 2019, a 1% increase on 2018, though the gap is anticipated to grow throughout Q1 2020 as more 2019 incidents come to light.

“2019 was a rough year for breach activity, with reported breaches reaching an all-time high and the number of records exposed up 284% compared to 2018” commented Inga Goddijn, Executive Vice President at Risk Based Security.

“As ghastly as those numbers are, there is much more to the story of 2019 and it’s not entirely bad news. One bright spot is that the number of incidents where sensitive data was accessible but not confirmed as taken increased to 22.6% of breaches, compared to 18% at the close of 2018.

“So, while the total number of unique records exposed was very high for certain events, the number of individuals whose data was put at risk is far fewer.”

2019: The worst year on record

However, 2019 has lived up to its reputation for being “the worst year on record” for breach activity with more breaches reported, more data exposed, and more credentials dumped online.

Since the release of the report three months ago, 7.2 billion records were compromised, with only four events accounting for 93.5% of those records. The cause? Open and misconfigured databases that were made publicly accessible to anyone motivated to seek them out.

2019 reported breaches

2019: Number of reported breaches by attack vector

“The interest in finding these rich sources of information shows little sign of abating” commented Inga Goddijn, Executive Vice President at Risk Based Security. “Thanks to the combination of low risk detection and low barrier of entry into this type of activity, we anticipate open, unsecured data will continue to be an issue well into the new decade.”

Key findings state that by NAICS economic sector, technology providers pushed the Information sector to the top spot for number of breaches, followed by the Healthcare sector.

Looking further into the data breach landscape, hacking remains the top breach type for number of incidents and exposed the most records this year.

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In 2019, a total of 7,098 reported breaches exposed 15.1 billion records