Seven Scary Internet Security Statistics Backed by Data and Research

With the proliferation and constant use of the internet across the world, digital security has become more important than ever. 

Despite the clear online threats that have been heavily covered by tech bloggers and the media, one of the biggest issues as regards Internet security is that many people still fall victim to Optimism Bias, a psychological syndrome that convinces someone that negative events are less likely to happen to them. This "it won’t happen to me" mentality can create a false sense of security among netizens that further prevents people, institutions, and companies from taking the extra precautions they need.


Good thing, many businesses are now inclined to implement top-notch internet security measures, particularly when dealing with customer data. For instance, their cloud access security brokers add an extra layer of security between cloud consumers and service providers, providing an encryption hub for enterprise usage.

However, while the market for deeper level security is growing in various enterprises, the rate at which fraudulent activity is happening is also growing even quicker. The following statistics on internet security may help individuals and companies address optimism bias by highlighting the importance of ramping up internal online security efforts:

1. Half a billion personal records were stolen in 2018

Half a billion people had their information stolen just a couple of years ago. Furthermore, since 2013, an average of nearly 4 million people had their data compromised one way or another. Notably, there was a 126% jump in the number of records stolen between 2017 and 2018, demonstrating a clear need for more people to pay closer attention to who they’re providing their data and to implement more strict verification methods when accessing their online accounts. [source]

2. 95% of cybersecurity breaches happen because of human error

Most corporate and personal computers use some form of anti-virus and malware software to prevent them from being infected -- but as it turns out, a vast majority of breaches still happen because of simple human error. Cybercriminals often target workers in companies who aren’t aware of common hacking tactics, like phishing. These internet users are more likely to click a link or open an email attachment that contains malware, opening up the door for a bigger attack. [source]

4. In 2018, one-third of all breaches involved phishing.

Phishing is a cybercrime that targets specific individuals and coerces them into handing over sensitive information or downloading software that infects their personal computer or company intranet. Often done through emails, phishing tactics use links that appear to come from legitimate sources; In many cases, these emails include previously stolen information about the recipient that add an air of legitimacy to their false claims.

5. In 2015, over 75% of the healthcare industry was affected by malware.

Because the health industry holds such a massive amount of important personal data, it’s no wonder that healthcare organizations and institutions are a common target for hackers. In fact, since 2015, more than 20 massive breaches have occurred in this industry. For example, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center had become a victim of a ransomware attack in which access to patient records was stolen for 10 days before they entered into a deal with the hackers. Other similar data breaches have resulted in class action lawsuits. [source]

6. Many companies take 6 months to detect a data breach

Some of the major breaches, including the ones that happened to Equifax and Facebook, took several months to be noticed and addressed. Timing is crucial in fixing breaches because compromised data can easily be used against the victims if the issue remains unchecked for an extended period. Early detection means early notification, and it could help prevent identity theft on a massive scale. Lack of security awareness training in the organization, obsolete internet security tools, and lack of state laws that dictate how soon people can be notified of a breach are only three of the many reasons why companies often take so long to recognize and solve internet security attacks. [source]

7. 83% of financial companies have over 50 attacks per month

This statistic is particularly alarming when we consider the sheer amount of valuable data that financial institutions hold. Sensitive data can either be used by the hackers themselves or they can sell it on the black market for a high price tag. Because of this, financial institutions must consistently stay abreast of new technology to prevent breaches from happening through early detection. Sadly, retailers also face similar online security struggles with 44% of retail firms getting at least 50 attacks per month.

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