December 7, 2023
Report: 2.6 billion personal records compromised in data breach in last two years – highlights the importance of end-to-end encryption.
According to a study commissioned by Apple, threats to consumer data stored in the cloud have increased significantly since the last report was published in December 2022.
Today, Apple found clear and compelling evidence that data breaches are becoming an epidemic, threatening sensitive and personal user data worldwide, as an independent study conducted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Dr. Stuart Madnick. Total data breaches more than tripled between 2013 and 2022 — exposing 2.6 billion personal records in the past two years — and will continue to worsen in 2023. The findings are strong protections against data breaches in the cloud, like last. End-to-end encryption is only more important than last year’s report and advanced data protection for iCloud.
This year’s study, “Continued Threats to Personal Data: Key Factors Behind Increases to 2023,” shows threats that have already reached historic levels — as seen in last year’s report, “The Rise of Consumer Data in the Cloud” — will continue to rise. A growing number of tech industry companies are implementing end-to-end encryption to address these risks, as Apple unveiled iCloud Advanced Data Protection last year.
With iCloud Advanced Data Protection, which uses end-to-end encryption to provide the highest level of cloud data security, users have the choice to further protect important iCloud data in the event of a data breach. iCloud already protects 14 categories of sensitive data using end-to-end encryption by default, including passwords in iCloud Keychain and health data. For users who enable Advanced Data Protection for iCloud, the total number of data categories protected using end-to-end encryption rises to 23, including iCloud backups, notes and photos.
“Bad actors continue to invest significant time and resources in finding more innovative and effective ways to steal consumer data, and we are relentless in our efforts to stop them,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering. “As threats to user data continue to grow, we will continue to find ways to fight back on behalf of our users by adding more powerful protections.”
As seen in this year’s report, the increasing digitization of consumers’ personal and professional lives has led to a significant increase in data breaches. Every year, thousands of data breaches expose the personal information of hundreds of millions of consumers. Hackers are evolving their methods and finding more ways to defeat security practices that once held them back. Therefore, even organizations with the strongest security practices are vulnerable to threats that were untrue just a few years ago.
The report shows that while consumers are taking the right steps to protect sensitive data, it is still at risk of being hacked if it is stored in a way that can be read by trusted organizations. For example, when attempting to infiltrate companies with strong security practices, hackers often begin by targeting a separate organization with relatively weak security that has a technical business relationship with the end target. They then steal credentials or information that help them target employees or systems in their primary target organization.
As threats to user data continue to grow and become more sophisticated, Apple’s long history of engineering powerful and innovative features makes its products the safest on the market. With Lockdown Mode, Apple has put in place protections for people who can be attacked by serious threats, such as mercenary spyware, based on who they are or what they do. Apple’s Advanced Data Protection for iCloud is another feature the company has developed to protect users from threats to their data, ensuring that most user data in iCloud is protected even in the event of a data breach in the cloud.
In the year The number of data breaches nearly tripled between 2013 and 2022, compromising 2.6 billion records, indicating that historical threats to user data will worsen by 2023. The United States alone saw 20 percent more violations in the first nine months of 2023 than any other year. The target of cybercriminals has become so clear that by 2023, more than 80 percent of breaches will involve data stored in the cloud. This comes after attacks targeting cloud infrastructure nearly doubled from 2021 to 2022.
This is due to ransomware groups and coordinated campaigns that target consumers’ data to target customers and put sellers or their products at risk. The threat of ransomware has only grown in 2023, with the first three quarters of 2023 reporting nearly 70 percent more attacks than in September 2023. In fact, experts have found that there will be more ransomware attacks until September 2023. Rather than all of 2022. In the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, more than twice as many accounts were breached in the first half of 2023 compared to the first half of 2022.
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