Back to Blog

Must Know Data Breach Statistics in 2024

Must Know Data Breach Statistics in 2024

In recent times, the digital landscape has seen an unprecedented increase in data breaches, cybercrime, cyberattacks, and privacy violations, presenting significant challenges and repercussions for organizations worldwide. Notably, the surge in social engineering tactics, particularly Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks, underscores the evolving sophistication of cybercriminals. Educational institutions, often constrained by limited resources, emerged as prime targets, particularly for ransomware attacks. Concurrently, the cybersecurity sphere grapples with a talent shortfall, with a significant majority of organizations reporting difficulties in hiring skilled professionals. This scenario is further complicated by the substantial financial toll associated with data breaches, with the average cost escalating to $4.45 million in 2023. These developments signal an urgent need for enhanced security measures, strategic planning, and international cooperation to mitigate risks and safeguard sensitive information. 

Below are more key data breach statistics for 2024.

Data Breach Statistics - 2024

Data Breach Insights and Impacts

  • In the last three months of 2023, over eight million records were leaked in data breaches. The most records ever leaked was in the last three months of 2020, with nearly 125 million records. Company leaders are very worried about data breaches. The most common reason for losing sensitive data was due to weaknesses in the operating systems of devices. (Source)
  • The Q3 2023 ID Theft Center Data Breach Report says there were 733 data breaches reported, 22% less than the previous quarter's 941 breaches. Even with this drop, the total for the first nine months of 2023, at 2,116 breaches, already surpassed the record high for a full year set in 2021, which was 1,862 breaches. Out of the 733 breaches in Q3, 386 of them (53%) didn't specify how the attackers compromised data security. (Source)
  • Social Engineering attacks work well and make a lot of money for cybercriminals. This might be why Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks have almost doubled, making up over 50% of these types of incidents. (Source
  • Ransomware is still a major threat in breaches, remaining at 24% without increasing or decreasing. It's common across all kinds of organizations. (Source
  • Schools were the most attacked by ransomware last year, with 80% of lower education and 79% of higher education affected. Schools often have less money and technology, making them easy targets. IT and telecoms had the fewest attacks (50%) because they're better prepared against cyber threats. (Source)
  • 74% of breaches happen because of human mistakes, including errors, misuse of privileges, stolen credentials, or Social Engineering. (Source
  • 83% of breaches are caused by outsiders, mostly for money, which is the reason behind 95% of breaches. (Source
  • Attackers mainly break into organizations using stolen credentials, phishing, or by finding and exploiting weaknesses. (Source
  • Over 32% of all Log4j scanning happened within 30 days after it was released, with the biggest increase within 17 days. (Source
  • Log4j was mentioned in 90% of incidents involving exploitation of vulnerabilities. (Source)

Major Breaches and Privacy Violations

  • As of September 2023, the biggest data privacy fine was against Didi Global, a Chinese ride-hailing company. China's data privacy authority fined them 8.026 billion yuan ($1.19 billion) in July 2022. The second-largest fine was $877 million against Amazon in 2021 by Luxembourg's authorities. Before that, the biggest fine was in 2019 against Equifax, a credit reporting agency in the U.S., for $575 million because of a breach affecting nearly 150 million people due to security flaws. (Source)
  • As of November 2023, the biggest data leak was from Cam4 in March 2020, where over 10 billion records were exposed. The second biggest was Yahoo's 2013 breach, first thought to be 1 billion records but later found to be 3 billion. Another major leak happened in March 2018 when India's Aadhaar national ID database was breached, exposing over 1.1 billion records, including fingerprints and ID numbers, used for banking and government services. (Source)

Cybersecurity Challenges and Responses

  • In 2023, the average cost of a data breach was USD 4.45 million, a 2.3% increase from 2022's USD 4.35 million. Since 2020, this cost has gone up by 15.3%. (Source
  • 51% of organizations plan to spend more on security after a breach. They want to focus on better incident response, training employees, and improving threat detection. (Source
  • Using security AI and automation can lower breach costs and speed up the response. Companies using these technologies saved USD 1.76 million and resolved breaches 108 days faster. (Source
  • Only one-third of companies found breaches themselves. 67% were told by others, costing nearly USD 1 million more than when found internally. (Source
  • Not involving law enforcement in a ransomware attack added USD 470,000 to the cost. Those who didn't involve them also saw a 33-day longer breach process. (Source
  • Healthcare industry breach costs have gone up by 53.3% since 2020, reaching USD 10.93 million, the highest among industries. Healthcare organizations must prioritize information security to protect against healthcare data breaches and safeguard sensitive patient information. (Source
  • 82% of breaches were in cloud environments. Breaches affecting multiple cloud types cost USD 4.75 million on average. (Source
  • Companies with strong DevSecOps practices saved USD 1.68 million compared to those with weak or no practices. (Source
  • Good incident response planning saved companies USD 1.49 million. (Source
  • High security system complexity led to higher breach costs, with a USD 1.44 million increase for those with complex systems. (Source
  • Breaches taking over 200 days to solve cost USD 1.02 million more than those resolved in under 200 days. (Source
  • Some industries are more likely to have data breaches. From 2021 to 2022, government agencies had the most breaches, with 495 incidents where data was definitely lost. Banks and financial companies were next with 421 breaches, and then hospitals and healthcare services. (Source)
  • The study found that the more money a company makes, the more likely it is to be hit by ransomware. 56% of companies making $10-$50 million faced ransomware, and this went up to 72% for companies making over $5 billion. (Source)
  • More attackers are locking data with encryption in ransomware attacks, now at 76%, the highest in four years. This shows attackers are getting better and changing their methods. (Source)
  • In 30% of cases where data was locked, it was also stolen. Attackers use this tactic to make more money by threatening to release the data or selling it. This makes it crucial to stop attacks early. (Source)
  • Companies with cyber insurance were more likely to get their data back than those without. Whether the insurance was just for cyber or part of a larger policy didn't matter much. 98% with specific cyber insurance and 97% with general insurance recovered data, compared to 84% without any insurance. (Source)
  • Even though the willingness to pay ransoms hasn't changed much from last year, the amount paid has almost doubled, from an average of $812,380 in 2022 to $1,542,333 in 2023. The median payment was $400,000 this year. (Source)
  • India has many engineers and programmers, leading to a bigger group of hackers. It might become a big source of cyberattacks in 2024, like China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran. India has already been involved in cyber activities, mainly targeting Pakistan. We think they might target more countries in the future. (Source)
  • The ongoing shortage of workers is a big issue: 88% of people surveyed say they have problems finding enough cybersecurity staff. 53% can't hire enough people in general, and 59% can't find people with the specific skills they need. (Source)
  • To deal with the skilled labor shortage, many security leaders (42%) are using more managed security service providers to help cover work outside normal hours and handle basic problems any time. Security professionals play a crucial role in risk management by conducting data breach investigations to enhance data protection strategies. (Source)
  • Executives really care about security resilience; 96% think it's very important for their business. (Source)
  • Companies with a strong security culture are 46% more resilient. (Source)
  • When asked about incidents that affected their security resilience, over half of people mentioned data breaches and system outages. Ransomware and DDoS attacks were also common, hitting around 46% of companies. While some incidents might have involved employees accidentally helping attackers (like by clicking on a bad email), about 38% of companies faced deliberate harmful actions from insiders. (Source)

Conclusion

As the year progresses, the data underscores a critical juncture in cybersecurity. Organizations are increasingly recognizing the imperative of robust security frameworks and the value of investing in advanced technologies, such as AI and automation, to preempt and mitigate cyber threats. The rise in encryption-based attacks and the strategic use of ransomware highlight the evolving tactics of cyber adversaries. Meanwhile, the record-setting fines for data privacy violations, such as the one against Didi Global, and the massive data leaks like the Cam4 incident, serve as stark reminders of the high stakes involved. As industries strive to adapt to these challenges, the focus shifts to fostering a culture of security resilience, enhancing incident response capabilities, and embracing comprehensive cybersecurity strategies. The path forward demands a concerted effort from organizations, governments, and cybersecurity professionals to navigate the complexities of the digital age and protect the integrity of our global information infrastructure.

Q&A

How many data breaches were there in 2023?

In 2023, the cybersecurity landscape witnessed a significant uptick in data breaches, with over 2,116 incidents reported in just the first nine months. This number surpassed the previous record of 1,862 breaches set in 2021, highlighting a growing trend in cybersecurity incidents across various industries.

How many data breaches happen every day?

The exact daily count of data breaches can vary widely, but with 2,116 breaches reported through September 2023, it averages out to approximately 7 to 8 breaches per day. This average is an estimation and actual daily figures can fluctuate based on the discovery and disclosure of breaches.

How likely is a data breach?

A data breach has become increasingly likely for most organizations, given the expanding digital footprint and the sophistication of cyber threats. Virtually every company is at risk of some form of security incident, making it imperative for businesses to focus on resilience and rapid response strategies.

Is the number of data breaches increasing?

Yes, the number of data breaches is on an upward trajectory, with 2023 already showing a higher count in the first three quarters than the total for 2021. This trend reflects the evolving nature of cyber threats and the increasing attack surfaces presented by digital transformation. Small businesses are increasingly at risk of security breaches that can lead to the exposure of personal data.

Are data breaches getting worse?

Data breaches are indeed getting worse in terms of severity, with more sensitive and valuable data being targeted and the methods of attack becoming more sophisticated. This has led to breaches having larger and more impactful consequences for the affected organizations.

What leads to the most data breaches?

Human error remains a leading cause of data breaches, including mistakes such as weak password practices and susceptibility to phishing attacks. Additionally, system vulnerabilities and stolen credentials are commonly exploited by attackers to gain unauthorized access, emphasizing the need for strong security measures like regular updates and stringent access controls.