New report shows 5bn personal records leaked in Q1 2021

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A new report says over five billion data records have already been leaked in the first quarter of 2021, with February being the worst month in records lost, as there were over 10 breaches that resulted in billions of personal records being compromised.

The findings by research firm Atlas VPN show cyber criminals were the most active in January as it had the highest number of total breaches – 23. It says cyber attacks hit companies such as Facebook, Raychat, Serasa and many others. In total, over 1.4 billion personal records were leaked in these attacks.

The worst month in records lost so far this year, it says, was February due to the vast Compilation of Many Breaches (COMB) breach.

The COMB data leak is reportedly so big, that it could include the data of 70% of Internet users worldwide, says Atlas VPN.

There were 12 breaches in February alone and 3.4 billion personal records leaked in that month, it adds.

This, according the findings, was made up of e-mail and password combinations that have already been leaked before. It includes major sites such as Netflix and LinkedIn. The hacked data was shared on a hacking forum as an interactive database, says Atlas VPN.

March was the quietest month in terms of cyber attacks, says the report, adding that only seven breaches exposing 153 million personal records took place last month.

The company says even though the first two months in 2021 were not the best in terms of cyber security, “the month of March gives us hope that the risks of data breaches can be reduced”.

Atlas VPN says the numbers are based on the Hackmageddon data, where the most significant cyber security breaches of 2021 are recorded constantly.

According to the Atlas VPN report, the second-biggest breach in the world this year came from Facebook, with a total of 533 million users affected, which is about one-fifth of the entire social network’s user pool.

Other significant breaches include Raychat (267 million), Serasa (220 million), as well as one affecting Chinese citizens during which 200 million records were found for sale on the Dark Web.

“Cyber criminals search for vulnerabilities or take advantage of misconfigurations to break into databases. We would like to believe that companies hire cyber security teams that do their best to prevent cyber attacks, but sometimes vulnerabilities are overlooked. It would be much more effective to test your cyber security before an attacker does it for you,” says Anton Petrov, researcher at Atlas VPN.

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