Cybercriminals exposed 2.8 billion consumer data records in 2018, costing more than $654 billion to U.S. organizations.
Data from ForgeRock found that cyberattacks to U.S. financial services organizations cost the industry more than $6.2 billion in Q1 2019 alone, up from just $8 million in Q1 2018. Even though investments in information security products and services have been on the rise, with $114 billion invested in 2018, cybercriminals continue to attack organizations across a wide spectrum of industries to gain access to valuable consumer data.

According to the research, personally identifiable information (PII) was the most targeted data for breaches in 2018, comprising 97 percent of all breaches. By targeting PII, cybercriminals prove that they’re hungry for consumer data and the research also found the most frequent attack method was from unauthorized access, encompassing 34 percent of all attacks. Healthcare, financial services and government were the sectors most largely impacted by cyberattacks.

“It’s clear from our research findings that consumer data is valuable and highly sought after by cybercriminals as well as very difficult for organizations to protect,” said Eve Maler, VP of Innovation and Emerging Technology of ForgeRock. “Organizations can protect consumer data by implementing a strong customer identity management program. Every industry has incentives to avoid brand damage and costly breaches, and so organizations must use modern techniques of identity and access management to secure their infrastructure, from servers in the data center to client applications and smart devices at the edge.”

The report also found:

  • Almost half (48 percent) of all consumer data breaches happened in the healthcare sector, four times as many in any other sector.
  • Financial services and government were the second and third most victimized industries, collectively comprising 20 percent of all breaches.
  • Although the number of breach incidents in financial services was down 20 percent in Q1 2019, compared to Q1 2018, more than 26.9 million consumer records were compromised in the Q1 2019 breaches alone, which is a 78,900 percent increase over Q1 2018.
  • Date of birth and/or Social Security Numbers were the most frequently compromised type of PII in 2018, with 54 percent of breaches exposing this data.
  • Name and physical address (49 percent) and personal health information (46 percent) were the second and third most commonly compromised type of PII in 2018.