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US leads world in falling foul of data breaches

The US has suffered a staggering 6.5 billion data breaches in less than a decade – an average of 20 per citizen, says research by infosecurity analyst Crucial.

Between 2013 and last year, it tallied up more instances of compromised data than any other country – with the Republic of Korea in a distant second place at five breaches per person and Canada coming in third with just under three.

“The US is a cybercrime hotspot due to the high population and its status as a hub for data-dependent companies,” said Crucial. “But these stats highlight that despite data security, the US still has vast room for improvement.”

The growing trend was reflected in the concerns of ordinary Americans, with three-quarters saying they now fear a cyberattack targeting their personal or credit card details, as opposed to just a third who worry about being mugged.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the US also topped the list for the average cost of a cyberattack last year – just over $9 million.

But other countries are catching up fast. The average cost of a data breach in Canada rose by a whopping 20% in 2021 to $5.4 million – compared to just 4.7% annual growth last year for its North American neighbor.

And America’s transatlantic cousin, the UK, also shared in the dubious honor of rapid data breach loss growth, with the average cost of a cyberattack soaring 19.7% to $4.67 million over the same period.

Taken globally, the average cost of a cyberattack rose 9.8% to stand at $4.24 million in 2021. Crucial attributed the high overall rise to the COVID pandemic and “other external factors to combat.”

Case studies highlighted by Crucial’s research over the period included the loss of nearly half a million songs from the MySpace music sharing site between 2008 and 2010, and a celebrity Twitter hack that compromised the accounts of Joe Biden, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates.

To mitigate cyberattack risk, Crucial recommends creating obscure, complex passwords, using multi-factor authentication, and backing up files to a cloud data storage platform or a solid-state drive (SSD).

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