Personal data compromises surge by almost 40% in Q2, 2021

William S. | July 14, 2021

Millions of individuals and organizations are affected every day by cyberattacks that threaten to steal sensitive data. Even though more people have become aware of cyber risks, hackers develop new techniques and malware to stay ahead of defense technologies.

According to the recent Atlas VPN team findings, personal data compromises are up 38% in Q2 over Q1 2021. Healthcare and financial services remain one of the most targeted sectors by hackers as they can benefit from stolen data or a paid ransom.

The data is presented by the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC). It is a non-profit organization established to empower and guide consumers, victims, businesses, and the government to minimize risk and mitigate the impact of identity compromise and crime.

During the first quarter of 2021, ITRC recorded 355 total compromises. February was the most hurtful as over 35 million people were impacted across 111 cyberattacks. The number of threats increased significantly in March as 23 million individuals were affected by 144 compromises.

In the second quarter of this year, ITRC recorded 491 threats. Despite the increase in data compromises, the number of victims decreased by 20% when comparing both quarters. June had the most threats by far — 203. However, at the same time, the lowest number of individuals were affected during this month — nearly 7 million.

The most popular attack vectors in the second quarter were phishing, ransomware, or malware cyberattacks. Also, there was a noticeable increase in supply chain attacks, the most recent one being on security software provider Kaseya.

Most targeted sectors 

Hackers usually target those businesses that do not have implemented good cybersecurity practices. Some companies in specific industries are even more vulnerable as they hold more valuable information than others.

The healthcare industry continues to be one of the most targeted, as it suffered 162 data compromises in the first half of 2021. Cyberattacks on healthcare organizations can have an impact beyond financial loss or privacy breaches. Disrupted services could lead to delayed care to patients, so most hospitals end up paying the ransom.

The second most attacked industry was financial services, which experienced 132 threats. Cybercriminals specifically target this sector as they can demand a bigger ransom or steal valuable consumer data such as credit card information. Constant ever-evolving attacking techniques make it extremely difficult for financial institutions to keep up.

Next up, the manufacturing and utility industry recorded 98 incidents. The attacks on this sector have recently been growing due to more companies using more automation and Internet-of-Things technologies across the production chain. Computerization led to hackers having more access points where they can find vulnerabilities to interrupt business processes.

Following after, the professional services sector experienced 75 compromises. The primary factor for attacks is that such businesses usually have access to confidential and sensitive client information. For threat actors, such data has great value, however, if leaked, it could cause disastrous financial loss and reputational damage.

Other types of sectors had 113 total data compromises.

Cyberattacks on various industries continue to grow as hackers keep evolving their attack techniques and becoming more viscous. Adding cybersecurity measures such as firewall or antivirus to your devices and educating yourself on how most hacks work would help to decrease cyber threats tremendously.

William S.

William S.

Cybersecurity Researcher and Publisher at Atlas VPN. Focused on revealing the latest cybersecurity trends around the world.



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