There were 2,932 publicly reported breaches in the United States throughout 2021, according to research from Risk Based Security and Flashpoint.
The 2021 Year End Report: Data Breach QuickView found that although data breaches worldwide decreased by 5%, numbers in the U.S. lifted by 10% compared to 2020 levels.
Most targeted data types
In 2021, names and social security numbers were the most targeted forms of personal identifiable information (PII), being compromised in breaches 64% and 41% of the time, respectively. Addresses were the third most compromised known type of PII (29%).
Threats from outside of organizations posed a large risk in 2021, with 77% of breaches originating from external threats. However, insider risk also presents a threat to enterprise cybersecurity. Although only 15% of breaches result from internal actions, 63% of internal breaches are accidental, indicating a potential need for further cybersecurity training.
Various sectors suffered data breaches at higher rates in 2021. According to the report, the top five industries targeted by data breaches were:
- Healthcare: 583 breaches
- Finance and Insurance: 520 breaches
- Public Administration: 402 breaches
- Information: 389 breaches
- Professional/Scientific: 382 breaches
For more information, download the report here.