The Most Expensive Data Breaches

A new study from Surfshark applies IBM's "Cost of a Data Breach" calculations to the largest data breaches in recent history in order to find the estimated cost of today's biggest data breaches.

What they found is that the Dark Web is currently the place to buy stolen data. When hackers lifted 162 million personal records from Dubsmash in 2019, the databases soon showed up for sale for $1,976 in Bitcoin. The most likely buyers were phishers and spammers.

But like many thefts, the resale value is only small  in comparison to the costs incurred by the victims. A hacker just needs to know your email address and that you’re a customer of, say, a bank or financial services to begin impersonating your identity.

  • The biggest data breach of the past two years was the Advanced Info Service (AIS) hack, which may have cost $58,103,238,250 ($58 billion) to resolve.
  • America’s biggest data breach of the 2020s so far was at ‘big data’ analysis firm BlueKai, where two billion records were exposed at a potential cost of $13.94bn.
  • The Microsoft leak in December 2019 may have cost as much as $1,742,500,000 to rectify.

According to IBM, businesses face four substantial bills in the aftermath of a data hack:

  • Detection and escalation: Including investigations and crisis management.
  • Notification: Communicating with customers, regulators, and lawyers.
  • Lost business: Downtime, dropped stock prices, lost customers, and damaged reputation.
  • Post-breach response: Restoring and improving security, legal expenses, fines, and compensation.

Surfshark

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