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Data breaches ramped up globally as 2023 reaches midpoint
The significance of data breach metrics is crucial in shaping cybersecurity and understanding the state of worldwide privacy. With 2023 already past the midpoint, we present our report on this year's global breaches in Q2 2023 compared to Q1 2023.
This report will look at global trends in data breach statistics over the Q2 2023 period and compare it to the previous quarter — which countries suffered the most breaches, the top countries by breach count and breach density, and the most vulnerable regions.
Global trends in data breach statistics: Q2 2023 vs. Q1 2023
Over 110M accounts were leaked in the second quarter of 2023 — 2.6 times the number of breaches in the first quarter of the year (43.2M). For a sense of scale, the second quarter saw 855 accounts breached every minute versus 334 accounts per minute in the previous quarter.
Top countries by breach count in Q2 2023
The top 5 most breached countries account for around 68% of all breached accounts during the second quarter of this year.
This quarter saw an unfortunate trend in many countries, with the United States, Russia, Spain, France, and Turkey having the highest number of leaked accounts. Except for Turkey, these countries were also among the top 5 most breached ones in the previous quarter.
Having been the second most-breached country in the prior quarter, the US stands first in the second quarter of 2023. It represents a whopping 49.8M breached accounts. The leaked American accounts account for 45% of the total in Q2, having increased by 830% from 5.4M in the prior quarter.
Russia had the second-highest number of breached accounts in the second quarter of 2023, up to 15.3M from 6.8M in Q1. Despite being the country with the most leaked accounts in Q1, Russian accounts represent less than 14% of all accounts breached in Q2.
Spain saw a total of 3.7M leaked accounts in the second quarter of 2023, a relatively slight increase from 3.1M in Q1. Spain went from fifth in Q1 to third in Q2.
France saw 3.4M accounts breached in the second quarter of 2023, a slight increase from 3.2M accounts in the prior quarter. Despite the rise in leaked accounts, France maintains its fourth-place ranking, which it also had in the first quarter of the year.
Turkey was fifth in the number of accounts breached in the second quarter of 2023, up from 25th in Q1. The last three months saw 2.8M Turkish accounts leak, which is a significant increase of over 22 times compared with the previous quarter’s 120K accounts.
Taiwan experienced a notable decrease in leaked accounts. In the prior quarter, Taiwan had 4M breached accounts and was third by the number of breaches. Over the last three months, the number of accounts had decreased by almost 100% to just 17.9K.
Regional analysis: what regions are most vulnerable?
Regionally, the changes in breach rates are not uniform. In the second quarter of this year, Asia, Africa, and Antarctica saw a downturn, while North America, Europe, Oceania, and South America experienced an increase in leaked accounts.
North America has experienced the highest number of account breaches this quarter — 51.3M. Being the third most breached region in Q1 (5.7M accounts), North America saw the number of breaches go up by 806%. The US is the biggest contributor within the region, accounting for 97% of the 51.3M breached accounts.
Breached European accounts have also increased — the number grew by 56% from 17.9M in Q1 to 28M in Q2. More than half of all leaked European accounts in Q2 are Russian, followed by Spanish and French (around 13% and 12%, respectively).
Oceania and South America also saw notable quarter-over-quarter growth in breached accounts. In Oceania, the number of accounts grew by over 730% from 287K to 2.4M, while South America saw a lower but considerable growth of almost 90%, going from 854K to 1.6M.
Furthermore, three regions saw a decrease in the number of accounts breached in Q2 compared to Q1 — Asia, Africa, and Antarctica. Asia, the region with the second-highest number of breaches last quarter, saw the leaked accounts decrease from 10.9M to 5.8M. Africa saw a slight quarterly decrease, from 1M to 980K breached accounts.
Top countries of Q2 2023 by breach density
Breach density is measured by dividing a country's total breach number by its population. This metric allows us to better understand the likelihood of being affected by a data breach in different countries. For instance, even if two countries have the same number of compromised accounts, the residents of a country with a smaller population size may be more likely to experience a data breach.
Finland is a perfect example that highlights the importance of considering breach density. Despite not being among the top 5 countries in terms of breached account count, Finland's breach density matches that of Spain, with 78 accounts leaked per 1,000 people. Finnish accounts experienced a leak rate of 4.7K per day in the second quarter of 2023.
In this quarter, Australia had the fifth-highest breach density, with 72 leaked accounts per 1,000 residents. This marked a significant increase from the 7 accounts leaked per 1,000 residents in the previous quarter. As a result, even though Australia did not rank among the top countries in terms of the number of breaches, its residents were still at a considerable risk of facing the consequences of data breaches.
Two countries stood out with their high data breach densities: the US and Russia. The US saw the highest breach density in Q2, with 147 accounts leaked for every 1,000 Americans. The figure is up from 16 accounts per 1,000 people in the previous quarter. Russia, having had a breach density of 47 per 1,000 residents in Q1, more than doubled that number in the three months of the second quarter, up to 106.
A worrying sight — more than a two-fold increase in worldwide data breaches
The second quarter of 2023 brought a foreboding rise in the data leak trends — the total number of breaches grew by 156% compared to the previous quarter, and 855 accounts worldwide got leaked every minute.
North America was the top breached region this quarter, while the US contributed to the metrics as the top breached country — almost 50 million breached accounts in Q2.
Recognizing the importance of a growing threat is one way to fight against it. As the number of leaks grows, so does the need for everyone to stay vigilant, informed, and protected.
Methodology and sources
We looked into global data breaches that occurred between April to June of 2023 (inclusive) and compared the numbers to those from January to March of 2023 (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 instead of 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 a defined period of time.
- Breach density — breach count of a country per its population.