A record number of data breaches in 2021 broke the previous high-mark by 23%, according to the non-profit Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC).
The total number of data compromises was 1,862 last year, up more than 68% compared to 2020, the ITRC reported in its 16th Annual Data Breach Report.
The number of compromise events that involved sensitive information, such as Social Security numbers, increased slightly year-over-year (83% compared to 80% in 2020).
However, the number of victims decreased 5% compared to the previous year, as criminals focused on specific data types rather than mass data acquisition.
“In 2021, we saw a shift in the identity crime space,” Eva Velasquez, President and CEO of the ITRC, said in a statement. “We may look back at 2021 as the year when we moved from the era of identity theft to identity fraud. The number of breaches in 2021 was alarming.”
Other key findings from the 2021 Annual Data Breach Report include:
“There is no reason to believe the level of data compromises will suddenly decline in 2022,” Velasquez said. “As organizations of all sizes struggle to defend the data they hold, it is essential that everyone practice good cyber-hygiene to protect themselves and their loved ones from these crimes.”
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