Study Reveals US is Largest Data Theft Target in the World

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A new report by Uswitch has revealed which countries have been the worst hit by data breaches, and the worst cases of data theft in modern times.

USA is data theft capital of the world

Looking at the total data records stolen per 100,000 of population, the USA is easily the data theft capital of the world, with nearly 1.9 million data records stolen.

To put into perspective that’s more than four times as much as the second place country, South Korea – which has really stepped up it’s cybersecurity defences against neighbouring North Korea.

The United Kingdom comes in fourth place with 206,433 per 100,000 population. Cybercrime has been on the rise since early 2020 as a result of opportunists using the COVID-19 pandemic to target people’s vulnerability – but why are certain countries not on the list?

China and India have tightened tech security

Interestingly, China and India have not made it into the top 20 despite having their own technology industry hotspots.

In China data security laws are deemed to be of the highest priority but with concerns about censorship, it is interesting to understand where data breaches sit.

Whereas in India cybersecurity laws are so lax that 394,307,531 cases of data breach have been recorded since 2013, but due to such a high population it ranks 22nd with 28,573 per 100,000 people.

Biggest data breaches of the decade

No. Company Date User Records Breached
1 Yahoo! 2013 & 2014 3,000,000,000
2 Sina Weibo 2020 538,000,000
3 Marriott International 2014-2018 500,000,000
4 Adult Friend Finder 2016 412,200,000
5 MySpace 2013 359,420,000
6 NetEase 2015 235,000,000
7 Zynga 2019 218,000,000
8 LinkedIn 2012 & 2016 165,000,000
9 Dubsmash 2018 162,000,000
10 Adobe 2013 153,000,000

When it comes to which companies have had the most records stolen, the 2013 data breach of Yahoo! remains the worst in modern times. Three billion usernames, phone numbers and birthdates were stolen and Yahoo! faced a backlash over their delayed disclosure of the breach, and weak security measures.

10 tips to keep your data safe online

  • Make sure your home broadband is as safe and secure as possible, consider using a virtual private network (VPN) to keep your data protected
  • Get some good-quality antivirus software for your internet-connected devices
  • Use obscure passwords with various symbols, and always use a different password for each platform to help keep your private information safe
  • Keep your software regularly updated, your network is more vulnerable when new patches haven’t been installed
  • Use two-step authentication where possible
  • Always check companies security guidelines when asked for information, for example your bank would never ask you to confirm log-in details over email, phone or text message
  • If using a shared device, protect confidential files and information saved from other users by deleting auto-fill details and logging off completely when you finish
  • Backup your most important files to cloud storage or manually to a memory stick or external hard drive
  • Be mindful of what devices you connect to your home network, and check their security settings (speakers, smart devices etc.)
  • Keep only what you need. If sensitive information no longer has a use, then remove it from your devices to prevent it being stolen

You can see the full study here.

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