The number of records exposed for Q1 2020 skyrocketed to 8.4 billion –  a 273 percent increase compared to Q1 2019. 

According to a new Risk Based Security report, the number of publicly reported breaches in Q1 2020 decreased by 58 percent compared to the same period last year. The decline in the number of disclosed breaches is attributed to two factors: reporting disruption brought on by COVID19 and the unusually high number of breaches reported in Q1 2019.

The increase in records compromised was driven largely by one breach, says the report: a misconfigured ElasticSearch cluster that exposed 5.1 billion records. Adjusting for this incident, the number of records still increased 48 percent compared to Q1 2019.

Approximately 70 percent of reported breaches for this quarter were due to unauthorized access to systems or services, while approximately 90 percent of the records exposed were attributable to exposing/publishing data online. Eleven breaches in this quarter exposed more than 100 million records each, and five breaches exposed between 10 and 99 million records.

On a positive note, notes the report, despite the number of large breaches driving the number of records exposed, approximately 68 percent of the breaches with confirmed record counts exposed fewer than 1,000 records.

In the past, cybercrime has increased during recession times, says the report. News publications reported that fraud on the Internet increased by 33 percent during the last recession, with the broken economy and increased digitization making data more vulnerable than ever. 

For the full findings, visit