Leaking Vault Update: Records Breached Figure Passes One Billion

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Suzanne Widup

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The Leaking Vault Update: Data Breach Known Records Disclosed Figure Passes 1 Billion Mark

For those who have read The Leaking Vault and The Leaking Vault 2011, or are interested in data breaches, I provide this update. 

The preliminary figures for known records disclosed have been tallied up, and they now stand at over 1.29 billion internationally--and those are just the ones we know about. 

First, there have been a significant number of data breach incidents coming to light from prior years.  Here is the new breakdown of incidents per year.

With the new data, there are now more than 5,500 incidents, and new breaches seem to occur on a daily basis. 

As you can see, 2011 already has 871 incidents, and if you are familiar with the previous two Leaking Vault reports, you will notice significant increases in both 2007 and 2008's totals.

Records Disclosed Totals

Even with a total of 944 incidents for 2010, however, it still remains the lowest year since the study began for known records disclosed. 

Although 2007 and 2008 grew the most in terms of additional incidents being disclosed, 2008 showed the highest number of additional records, with almost 95 million. Though 2011 is not the highest in terms of incidents, it is now the leader for records disclosed thus far. 

All told, the database shows 1.29 billion records disclosed over the past 7 years, and this total will only grow as more incidents for 2011 come in. 

As pointed out in the reports, these records lost figures are an under estimation due to the fact that 36% of the incidents do not list a finite number of records disclosed for the data breach.  

One partial explanation for 2010's low records disclosed number is the potential for large breaches to be concealed within the 37% "unknown" value for the records disclosed--only 1% higher than average. 

However, it may simply be that there were no really large incidents during that year.  In contrast, 2009 had a 46% unreported figure for records disclosed, and it did not show a large decrease.

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