The US is the worst-affected country in the world by data breaches, with four times as many cases as second-place South Korea. Price-comparison service Uswitch released a report that goes so far as to name the US the data theft capital of the world.
“Host to a high population and an industrial hub of technology-based companies, the states is a hotspot for cybercrime,” the report reads. “Despite a number of proposals to improve it during the Obama administration, cybersecurity in the States is not as strong as it could be, leaving them open to more data breaches.”
Two other populous and technologically minded players on the world stage, China and India, aren’t among the top 10 or even top 20 places with high numbers of data breaches. China prioritizes data security laws, but India’s laws are more lax.
Canada is in third place with 91,830,959 cases since 2013, or 243,311 per 100,000 people. The UK took fourth place, with 206,433 cases per 100,000, and Australia was fifth, with 197,423 cases per 100,000. Other countries on the top 20 list include South Africa, Malaysia, Serbia, and Russia.
So what exactly are the bad actors stealing? The most popular types of stolen data (with the percentage of that type of breach in parentheses) are email addresses (2.8%), passwords (2.3%), usernames (1.6%), IP addresses (1.3%), names (1.1%), dates of birth (0.7%), phone numbers (0.6%), physical addresses (0.5%), genders (0.4%), and website activity (0.4%).
To keep your data safe online, consider using a virtual private network (VPN), investing in antivirus software, being smart about your passwords, updating your software regularly, using two-factor authentication, and being mindful of the security of your smart devices.