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Hackers had a banner year in 2019

January 28, 2020, 4:15 PM UTC

Hackers were working a lot harder in 2019, but they weren’t as productive as they were the year before.

A new report from the Identity Theft Resource Center finds that there were 1,473 data breaches last year, a 17% increase over 2018’s 1,257. The total number of sensitive records exposed, though was down 65%.

That discrepancy can be tied to a single 2018 hack: the breach of Marriott that exposed 383 million records.

“The increase in the number of data breaches during 2019, while not surprising, is a serious issue,” said Eva Velasquez, president and CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center. “The 2019 reporting year sees a return to the pattern of the ever-increasing number of breaches and volume of records exposed.”

While hacking is the most common form of data breaches (covering 39% of those that occurred in 2019 and 81% of the sensitive records that were exposed), it’s not the only way data gets out. “Unauthorized access,” a blanket term that doesn’t clarify exactly how the breach took place, was responsible for 36.5% of breaches.

Since 2005, there have been more than 10,000 data breaches that were publicly announced. That milestone was crossed last summer, says the Center.

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