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For many companies, data breaches are these mythological creatures that nobody has ever seen. But they are very real. And they happen more than you have probably imagined. We inevitably hear on the news about some data breach statistics like last year´s Equifax case, which affected 143 million Americans, but there are a lot that happen and we never hear about.

On top of that, there is the ongoing myth that only big companies can be affected by data breaches. This couldn’t be any more wrong – in fact, there are at least 1,000 cases of stolen records, identity theft, and other types of compromised data registered for small entities. Security is evolving, but so are cybercriminals.

In today’s digitalized world, it is more important than ever to protect vulnerable information at all costs. If simple algorithms and safety protocols were just enough to provide data protection 30 years ago, times are changing. To show you the magnitude of the situation, we compiled 12 alarming data breach statistics that will remind you to prevent possible risks and protect your company – before it is too late.

  1. Identity Theft accounts for 59% of the data breaches

Over the past few years, identity theft has been and continues to be one of the most common types of cyber attacks worldwide. According to a report published by Breach Level Index, the number of records stolen only in the first half of 2017 reached almost 2 billion! After identity theft, financial access and account access are among the most popular modes of attack, accounting for 17.8% and 9.6% respectively.

  1. The healthcare industry was the most affected vertical in 2017

Not all sectors are equally affected by cyber attacks. According to the data breach statistics study BLI, the healthcare industry received the highest number of breaches last year, reaching the alarming number of 228 – which accounts for 25% of the total amount across all industries. Other popular targets are the financial sector, which experienced 125 breaches in the first half of 2017, followed by education and retail.

  1. In 7% of the cases, breaches go undiscovered for more than a year

According to the Data Breach Investigation Report conducted by Verizon, a good percent of the cyber attacks and successful information leaks can go undiscovered for an alarming amount of time: more than year. During this time, companies not only risk compromising the privacy of their customers, but also huge penalties that can reach millions of dollars.

  1. 43% of the cyber attacks are targeted towards small businesses

As the cyber security industry is growing, more and more hackers start targeting smaller businesses. Considering the ongoing belief that only enterprises are vulnerable to data breaches, many small companies tend to underestimate protection practices – which makes them a tempting prey for attackers.

  1. The average cost of a data breach will exceed $150 million in 2020

According to Cybint, as more and more infrastructures get connected, the average cost of a data breach will be increasing exponentially until it exceeds $150 million only 2 years from now.

  1. According to recent data breach statistics, 3,437 records are stolen every minute

With the digitalization of many processes across global industries, data breaches are becoming more and more common. In fact, according to Breach Level Index, more than 3,000 records are stolen each minute! This translates to more than 50 records each second.

  1. The biggest data breach in 21st century hit Yahoo in 2013

Between 2013 and 2014, Yahoo suffered the biggest data breach in history, compromising the real names, addresses, birth dates, passwords, and telephone numbers of all its 3 billion user accounts. The breach knocked an estimated $350 million off of Yahoo´s sales price.

  1. North America suffered the highest number of cyber attacks in the first half of 2017

Out of all the breaches that occurred worldwide, the continent of North America suffered a mind-blowing 88% of them. There were 806 cyber attacks in US, Canada and Mexico. The number of records stolen accounted for 1.63 billion.

  1. At the same time, Europe experimented 5% of the incidents

In the first months of last year, Europe accounted for 5% of all the breaches worldwide, or 49 incidents in total – 40 of which happened in the United Kingdom.

  1. 74% of all the breaches came from a malicious outsider

The Breach Level Index confirms that although cyber attacks in 2017 came from a variety of sources, 74% of them came from malicious outsiders, which resulted in the leak of 254 million records. However, despite the fact that accidental loss accounted for only 18%, it had a much bigger impact, registering more than 1.6 billion records stolen.

  1. Only 38% of the global organizations are prepared for a complex cyber attack

Despite the high risk for data breaches and the vulnerability of many companies as a result from not implementing adequate protection measures, only 38% of all the organizations across the globe feel prepared for sophisticated malicious attacks.

  1. There are 209,000 cyber security-related jobs in the US that are not filled

The rapid digitalization and the increasing number of cyber attacks have left more than 209,000 jobs digital security jobs unfilled in the USA. It is estimated that this number will increase to 1.5 million by 2019.

With these 12 alarming data breach statistics in mind, it becomes pretty obvious that digital security should be taken seriously not only by enterprises, but also by smaller companies as well.

One of the best ways to protect your company from cyber attacks, decrease the risk for breaches, and reduce vulnerabilities is the standard PCI-DSS, designed by the biggest credit card companies with the purpose of protecting sensitive data.

It is obligatory for all organizations and entities that process any sort of payment information both physically and digitally, and many of them are still not aware of the importance of its implementation. Did you know that if a data breach happens, and you are not PCI-DSS compliant, you can face up to $100, 000 monthly penalties?

If these data breach statistics have alarmed you, don´t worry: you are still on time to become compliant and protect your company from potential attacks! For more information, download our free e-book that will guide you through the basics of the PCI standard, or contact us to discover our fully compliant payment solutions!