Over 17 billion personal accounts leaked worldwide since 2004

Data breaches increased five times globally in the first quarter of 2024, bringing the number of personal accounts exposed over the past two decades to over 17 billion, according to cybersecurity researchers.

The number of leaked accounts increased from 81 million in the first quarter of 2023 to 435 million in the same period this year, cybersecurity firm Surfshark said based on its monitoring data. The US, Russia, and China were the most breached countries in 2024 so far, it said.

“Surfshark's extensive monitoring of data breach trends over the past two decades reveals an alarming digital reality: data leaks persist as an ongoing global threat,” Lina Survila of Surfshark said.

Of the total number of 17.2 billion accounts breached since 2004, about 6.5 billion had unique email addresses. It means that some accounts were breached several times in separate cases because people use the same email or password for multiple online profiles.

“We urge everyone to remain vigilant, create strong passwords, refrain from reusing them, and exercise caution when sharing personal information online,” Survila said.

Three billion accounts have been breached in the US since 2004, according to monitoring data, followed by Russia (2.4 billion), China (1.1 billion), France (521.6 million), and Germany (486.7 million). The list of the ten most breached countries also includes Brazil, the UK, India, Italy, and Canada.

When it comes to per capita breaches, Russia tops the table with 16.8 accounts breached per resident, followed by the US (nine accounts), South Sudan (8.1 accounts), France (also 8.1 accounts), and Czechia (6.1 accounts).

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