Data breaches declined globally at beginning of 2023, claims study

Cybersecurity, News

The latest
study by cybersecurity company Surfshark shows that a total of 41.6M accounts were breached in Q1 2023, with Russia ranking first and amounting to a sixth of all breaches (6.6 million) from January through March.

The United States takes second place (5 million) followed by Taiwan (3.9 million), France (3.2 million), and Spain (3.2 million). Taiwan saw the highest quarter-over-quarter increase (21x), the country had only placed 26th in Q4 2022 with 191K breached users. Globally, data breaches declined, dropping to one user account leaked every second in Q1 2023.

Says Agneska Sablovskaja, Lead Researcher at Surfshark:

“According to Surfshark’s study, data breaches declined globally in the first quarter of 2023 if we compare it to the previous one. 

“However, the fact that over 40 million accounts were breached in just a few months is still a cause for concern. Those whose data was compromised are at an increased risk of being targeted by cybercriminals as their personal information can be utilized for phishing attacks, fraud, identity theft, and other serious cybercrimes.

In Q1 2023, Europe was also the only region with a significant quarter-over-quarter increase in its statistics on data breaches. The number nearly doubled, growing from 9.9 million in Q4 2022 to 17.5 million in Q1 2023. To put this into perspective, 2 out of 5 accounts breached in Q1 2023 were of European origin, with 38% of these being Russian.

Within the region, the biggest quarter-over-quarter spikes in data breaches were recorded in Czechia (almost 9x), Armenia (around 6x), and Switzerland (6x).

Asia was the second-most vulnerable region, accounting for around a quarter of breaches during this period (10.6 million). The three countries that saw the highest quarter-over-quarter increase overall were all Asian — Taiwan and Saudi Arabia both had around 20 times more leaked accounts in Q1 2023 than in Q4 2022, while South Korea saw its number increase 12 times.

An additional 13% of the accounts were North American (5.3 million). All other regions comprised less than 5% of the quarter’s total. Out of all regions, Africa saw the greatest quarter-over-quarter decrease.

Some of the biggest breaches by email count were Sberbank (Russia), with 2.9 million accounts leaked, Weee! (United States) with 1.1 million and Zurich Insurance (Switzerland) with 757,000. 

Chris Price
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