Data breach statistics 2023’Q1 vs. 2022’Q4
In cybersecurity statistics, data breaches are an essential index. With the year’s first three months already behind us, here is our newest report on global data breach statistics in 2023’Q1.
This article will outline and compare the data breach trends seen at the beginning of this year and in 2022’Q4. We will also look at data breaches from a regional perspective, name the top countries by breach count and discuss data breaches that compromised the most email accounts in 2023’Q1.
Global trends in data breach statistics: 2023’Q1 vs. 2022’Q4
41.6M accounts were leaked in the first quarter of 2023 — almost twice less than nearly 80.8M in the previous quarter. To put this into perspective, 10 accounts were leaked per 1,000 people in 2022’Q4, as opposed to 5 in 2023’Q1. The significant decline shows that the global data breach trends took a positive turn in the last three months.
Top countries by breach count in 2023’Q1
The top 5 most-breached countries account for around half (52.8%) of all accounts leaked in 2023’Q1.
Unfortunately, not all countries saw a positive turn in their data breach statistics. Russia, Taiwan, France, and Spain were among the most breached countries, marking an increased number of leaked accounts last quarter.
6.6M Russian accounts were leaked in 2023’Q1. Compared to 5.2M in 2022’Q4, the data breaches in Russia grew by 27.4%. In 2023’Q1, Russia ranked 1st as the country with the most data breaches worldwide, a significant jump in ranking from 5th place in the previous quarter.
Taiwan experienced a sharp jump in leaked accounts. The country had only placed 26th in 2022’Q4 (191K) but saw the highest quarter-over-quarter increase, placing its total of 4M leaked accounts 3rd in 2023’Q1.
France also saw a significant quarter-over-quarter increase in breached accounts. There were nearly 4 times more breached French accounts in 2023’Q1 (3.2M) than in 2022’Q4 (841.9K).
Like France, Spain too saw a significant quarter-over-quarter increase of over 5 times, with 3.1M breached Spanish accounts in 2023’Q1, as opposed to the 571.7K seen in 2022’Q4.
On the other hand, the U.S. saw a 25.4% decrease in leaked accounts from 2022’Q4 (6.7M) to 2023’Q1 (5M). Although in perspective, a large part — 1 in 8 — of accounts breached over 2023’Q1 were of American origin.
India, China, and South Sudan were in the top 5 the previous quarter, but in 2023’Q1, all three countries saw significant quarter-over-quarter decreases in leaked accounts. India’s numbers fell from 8.5M to 2.1M, and China’s declined nearly 30 times, going from 15.4M to just over half a million.
South Sudan is most noteworthy out of the three — it placed 1st the previous quarter with 18.3M leaked accounts but saw the largest quarter-over-quarter decrease in Q1. The country’s numbers decreased 108 times — placing it 18th with just 169.3K breached accounts.
Regional analysis: what regions are most vulnerable?
Europe continues to lead for the total number of leaked accounts into 2023. The region recorded 17.5M leaked accounts last quarter — the highest number of any other region. Asia followed with 10.6M, while North America recorded twice less than that — 5.3M.
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 9.9M in 2022’Q4 to 17.5M in 2023’Q1. To put this into perspective, 2 out of 5 accounts breached in 2023’Q1 were of European origin, with 38% being Russian. Within the region, the biggest quarter-over-quarter spikes in data breaches were recorded in Czechia (almost 9x), Switzerland (6x), and Spain (over 5x).
Asia was the second-most vulnerable region, accounting for around a fourth of the quarter’s breaches (10.6M). 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 2023’Q1 than in 2022’Q4, while South Korea saw its number increase 12 times.
An additional 13% of the accounts were North American (5.3M). All other regions comprised less than 5% of the quarter’s total. Out of all regions, Africa saw the greatest quarter-over-quarter decrease — a whopping 33 times, bringing its 18.6M leaked accounts in 2022’Q4 down to 557.6K in 2023’Q1.
Some of the biggest 2023’Q1 breaches by email count
The table below lists 10 of the biggest 2023’Q1 breaches by email count.
SberSpesibo (Sberbank) (Russia): in March 2023, the largest Russian bank suffered a data breach, affecting its SberSpasibo bonus program users¹. 2.9M email accounts were leaked, most of which were Russian. This breach was responsible for 43% of all Russian accounts leaked over the first quarter of 2023.
Weee! (United States): in February 2023, the US-based grocery delivery service Weee!, specializing in Asian and Hispanic goods, suffered a data breach, exposing 1.1M email accounts². The country most affected by this breach was China — in fact, 1 in 5 Chinese accounts leaked over 2023’Q1 were exposed due to this breach.
Zurich Insurance (Switzerland): in January 2023, the Japanese subsidiary of Zurich Insurance suffered a data breach, with 756.7K accounts leaked³. The breach affected Japanese accounts the most and was responsible for 93% of Japanese accounts exposed over 2023’Q1.
Data breaches — still a worrying issue
Although the number of leaked accounts declined last quarter, the quantity of breached users remains a significant concern. Some countries like Taiwan saw a big increase in data breach statistics, and the overall number of breaches reached 41.6M in just three months. Regions-wise, Europe remains the most vulnerable region with the most leaked accounts, followed by Asia. The positive trend in global data breach statistics may make it seem breached accounts are less of a problem than before, but leaked personal information can do much damage. Recognizing the importance of data breach protection and staying vigilant online remains essential.
Methodology and sources
We looked into data breach statistics globally that occurred between January to March of 2023 (inclusive) and compared the numbers to those from October to December 2022 (inclusive).
Countries with a population lower than 1M were excluded from the rankings as they are often outliers in global distribution per population metrics due to small population numbers. Excluding countries and territories with a population of fewer than 1M does not significantly impact global statistics as they account for less than 1% of the worldwide population.
The data was collected by our independent partners from 29,000 publicly available databases and aggregated by email addresses. This data was then anonymized and passed on to Surfshark’s researchers to perform a statistical analysis of their findings.
For timeline accuracy, our independent partners record the actual time of the breach as opposed to when it first becomes public. Therefore, past numbers can change as new cases are reported.
- Data breach — an event when the intruder copies and leaks user data such as names, surnames, email addresses, passwords, etc.
- Breach count/breaches — every breached or leaked email address is counted as a separate account/user/breach.
- Breach rate — breaches per period of time.
- Breach density — breach count of a country per its population.