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Data breaches decrease globally by 76% in Q3 2023 - study

November 2023 by Surfshark

The latest study by Surfshark shows that a total of 31.5M accounts were breached in Q3 2023, with the United States ranking first and amounting to around a quarter of all breaches (8.1M) from July through September. Russia takes second place, while France is third, followed by China and Mexico. There is a four times decrease in breached users worldwide compared to Q2 2023. Europe was the most affected region by data breaches, followed by North America and Asia.

Global data from Surfshark’s data breach statistics update (Q2 2023) records 110.8M leaked accounts, with the US being 1st in the world (49.8M), followed by Russia (15.3M), Spain (3.7M), France (3.4M), and Turkey (2.8M). Globally, data breaches increased almost 3 times compared to the previous quarter, from 6 to over 14 user accounts leaked every second in Q2 2023. That is 855 accounts per minute versus 334 accounts per minute in the previous quarter.

Global data from Surfshark’s data breach statistics update (Q3 2023) records 31.5M leaked accounts, with the US 1st in the world (8.1M), followed by Russia (7.1M), France (1.6M), China (1.5M), and Mexico (1.2M). Globally, data breaches decreased more than four times compared to the previous quarter, from 17 to 4 user accounts leaked every second in Q3 2023.

“The third quarter of 2023 shows a general decrease in data breach count. Yet every minute, over 240 online accounts were compromised globally, exposing sensitive information to malicious actors,” says Agneska Sablovskaja, Lead Researcher at Surfshark. “We recommend a vigilant approach by maintaining accounts only on actively used platforms and implementing two-factor authentication for enhanced security.”

Europe was the most affected region by breaches in Q3 2023, followed by North America and Asia

In Q3 2023, Europe’s data breaches decreased four times, dropping from 48.1M in Q2 2023 to 10.9M in Q3 2023. To put this into perspective, 1 in 2.9 accounts breached in Q3 2023 originated from Europe, with 65% of these being Russian.

North America accounts for 30% of the quarter’s breaches (9.5M). North America’s breaches dropped 82% in Q3 2023 compared to the previous quarter.

An additional 12% of the accounts originated from Asia (3.8M). All other regions comprised less than 8% of the quarter’s total, and almost 15% remain unknown. Out of all regions, Oceania saw the greatest quarter-over-quarter decrease — 91%, bringing its total of 3.3M leaked accounts in Q2 2023 down to 289.6k in Q3 2023.

In descending order, the ten most breached countries of Q3 2023 were the US, Russia, France, China, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Malaysia, the UK, and India.

The countries with the highest breach density (number of leaked accounts per 1,000 residents): Russia (49), France (25), the US (24), Colombia (15), Malaysia (14), Trinidad and Tobago (14), Denmark (10), Switzerland (10), Peru (10) and Jamaica (10).

Steps after account breach: 1. Change your passwords. 2. Contact your bank if your credit card details were compromised. 3. Scan your devices for malware. 4. Request deletion of the leaked account if you don’t use the service.

METHODOLOGY

A data breach is a common digital threat to personal information. It happens when confidential and sensitive data gets exposed to unauthorized third parties. In this study, we treat every breached or leaked email address used to register for online services as a separate user account. Each one is counted as a breach.

The data was collected by our independent partners from 29,000 publicly available databases and aggregated by email address. To determine the location of the email address, our partners’ mechanism looked into several associated parameters, such as domain names, IP addresses, locales, coordinates, currency, or phone numbers. This data was then anonymized and passed on to Surfshark’s researchers to analyze their findings statistically.

The Data Breach World Map is updated monthly with the most recent data from our independent partners. The numbers from April to June 2023 were compared with data aggregated from July to September 2023. Countries with a population of less than 1M people were not included in the analysis.


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