Data Breaches increased by 64% in First quarter of 2023

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The latest study by cybersecurity company Surfshark has revealed that the incidences of data breaches in Nigeria increased by 64% in Q1, 2023.

According to the report, Nigeria recorded 82,000 cases of data breaches between January and March this year, up from 50,000 recorded in Q4 2022. With this, the country was ranked 32nd in the world on the list of countries most breached by hackers.

Globally, a total of 41.6 million accounts were breached in Q1’2023, with Russia ranking first and amounting to a sixth of all breaches from January through March. The United States takes second place, while Taiwan appears in third place after extreme quarter-over-quarter growth, followed by France and Spain.

The report further revealed that there was a 49% decrease in breached users worldwide compared to Q4’2022. Commenting on the company’s global study of data breaches in Q1, Lead Researcher at SurfShark, Agneska Sablovskaja, mentioned that)

“Data breaches declined globally in the first quarter of 2023 if we compare it to the previous one. However, the fact that over 40 million accounts were breached in just a few months is still a cause for concern.

“Those whose data was compromised are at an increased risk of being targeted by cybercriminals as their personal information can be utilized for phishing attacks, fraud, identity theft, and other serious cybercrimes.”
Regional data

On regional basis, Surfshark said Europe was the most affected region by breaches in Q1’2023, followed by Asia and North America

“In Q1’2023, Europe was also the only region with a significant quarter-over-quarter increase in its statistics on data breaches. The number nearly doubled, growing from 9.9 million in Q4 2022 to 17.5 million in Q1’2023. To put this into perspective, 2 out of 5 accounts breached in Q1 2023 were of European origin, with 38% of these being Russian. Within the region, the biggest quarter-over-quarter spikes in data breaches were recorded in Czechia (almost 9x), Armenia (around 6x), and Switzerland (6x),” the report stated.

Asia was the second-most vulnerable region, accounting for around a fourth of the quarter’s breaches (10.6 million). The three countries that saw the highest quarter-over-quarter increase overall were all Asian — Taiwan and Saudi Arabia both had around 20 times more leaked accounts in Q1’2023 than in Q4’2022, while South Korea saw its number increase 12 times.

While North America accounted for 13% of the total breaches, Surfshark said all other regions accounted for less than 5% of the quarter’s total. Out of all regions, Africa saw the greatest quarter-over-quarter decrease as it recorded a whopping 33 times, bringing its total of 18.6 million leaked accounts in Q4 ‘2022 down to 557,600 in Q1 2023.

Data breach occurs when an intruder copies and leaks user data such as names, surnames, email addresses, passwords, etc. This also includes instances of hackers gaining access to or hijacking people’s social media accounts, especially, Facebook and WhatsApp.