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11 Jan 2023

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Government Breaches - Can You Trust the U.S. Government with Your Data?

Excerpt of original article. Posted with permission from Comparitech.

by Paul Bischoff

Since 2014, the US government has suffered 822 breaches affecting nearly 175 million records. Based on the average cost per breached record (as reported by IBM each year), we estimate these breaches have cost government entities over $26 billion from 2014 to October 2022.

In 2018 and 2019, the number of government breaches hit an all-time high with 116 and 118 breaches respectively. In 2020, breaches decreased to 107 before increasing again to 116 in 2021. So far this year, there have been 61 data breaches affecting 2.9 million people.

The amount of records affected during these data breaches has reduced significantly in the last few years. 2018 saw a colossal 83 million breached records. They mainly stemmed from one breach on the US Postal Service, affecting 60 million records. In 2019, this figure dropped to 1.4 million before hovering around the 3 million mark for the next three years.

Over the last four years, the average number of records involved per government data breach has increased. From 17,400 in 2019 to 42,097 in 2020 and 40,440 in 2021, the average number of records affected per breach in 2022 currently stands at 71,534. While the frequency of attacks may have declined, the impact of individual attacks has increased. The true extent of breaches often isn’t felt for months, if not years, so the average number of records affected per breach for this year could increase even further yet.

So, what are these data breaches costing the government, how have government breaches developed over time, and what trends have we seen in recent years?

Our team of researchers has collated information on government data breaches dating back as far as 2014. We’ve searched through state data breach reports, federal reports, news, press releases, and industry reports to create an extensive list of breaches that have affected government agencies across the United States.

For the complete article, with graphics and data tables, visit Comparitech.

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