Record breaches soared 273% in beginning of 2020

The number of record breaches containing sensitive information is on the rise across multiple business sectors, including healthcare, according to a new report from Atlas VPN. During the first three months of 2020, the number of breached records jumped 273% compared to the same time period in 2019, with a whopping 8.4 billion documents leaked.

The quarter signified a new record high for the number of hacked or accidentally exposed files, compared the second highest year for record leaks––3.4 billion records exposed during the first quarter of 2017.

Within the healthcare sector, the number of breaches from the first quarter of 2019 to the first quarter of 2020 rose 70.97%, Atlas VPN found. Healthcare systems may be particularly vulnerable to record breaches, with 83% of systems running on outdated software, according to the report. For example, more than 56% of devices operating run on Windows 7 in the health sector, and 27% are still running Windows XP or outdated Linux OS. Some of these systems are no longer updated with the latest security features or bug fixes, making them more vulnerable to cybersecurity threats.

The number of targets for record breaches has also “increased dramatically due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the report noted, with cybercriminals focusing on the private information in the healthcare sector. Conversely, the pandemic has helped decrease the number of targeted breaches in the hospitality sector, as these services have been temporarily halted over quarantine rules around the world.

Breaches can come from inside or outside organizations, but 7 in 10 breaches are caused by insiders, according to the report, and the number of phishing cases is also rising.