We are living in a world where breach of digital data is one the biggest fears among people and companies. So, how safe is your personal data? Not much, if you are in India. As per a report, the country ranked third in the world in terms of number of data breaches, with a total of 86.63 million Indian users breached till November 2021.
The report from cybersecurity company Surfshark used its own breach detection mechanism. India showed a 351.6 per cent increase in affected accounts compared to last year. In 2020, around 19.18 million Indian users' data was breached.
"In general, this year was slightly worse than the last in terms of data breach cases," it said.
Apart from India, the country with the maximum data breaches this year was the United States, followed by Iran. Russia and France are the other countries in the top five as they accounted for more than half of all leaks of 2021, the report stated. Some of the biggest data breaches this year included COMB, Clubhouse, Facebook and Raychat.
The Middle East particularly stood out among the countries that grew the most year-on-year breach-wise as Iran, Sudan, UAE and Iraq all showed extreme spikes, the report further added.
What does the huge number of breaches mean?
It means that nearly 1 billion email accounts have been exposed in both 2020 and 2021 each, the report said. Till November, 952.8 million accounts were breached, meaning that one out of five people were affected globally, as against 921.8 million breaches that happened in the year-ago period.
"In theory, it could take only five years to expose the entire internet population at this rate," it said, adding that "it won’t be the case because...data breaches are more centralized across specific countries, and accounts can be breached more than once."
The examined data was taken from a 12-month period between November 2020 to November 2021. The selected data was then analysed and compared to similar information of the year before. The study was conducted after taking information from Surfshark Alert database, which comprises all publicly available breached data sets to inform users of potential threats.
Commenting on the report, Vytautas Kaziukonis, CEO of Surfshark, said, "The growth in breached users is alarming considering the reputational and financial damage that can be done once a person’s private data is stolen or leaked. Criminals can use it in various illegal schemes, such as phishing emails, fake bank calls, and even identity theft."
Sounding an alarm over the rising instances of data breach worldwide, Kaziukonis added, “Unfortunately, this trend isn’t going anywhere. Therefore, all internet users should educate themselves on online privacy and take preventive measures to protect themselves.”
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