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Data breaches expose 2.6 billion personal records and highlights the need for end-to-end encryption

More than 2.6 billion personal records have been compromised in data breaches in the last two years – and it’s only getting worse – but it does emphasise the need for end-to-end encryption in the cloud.

Apple published an independent study by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) professor Stuart Mednick which showed data breaches have tripled in the last 10 years.

In the last two years alone, more than 2.6 billion personal records have been exposed.

The way companies are addressing these threats is by employing end to end encryption.

More than 80 per cent of breaches in 2023 involved data stored in the cloud with attacks targeting cloud infrastructure doubling from 2021 to 2022.

Last year Apple launched advanced data protection for iCloud which uses end to end encryption and offers Apple’s highest level of cloud data security with the ability to further protect your important data even in the case of a data breach.

iCloud can provide protection for 14 sensitive data categories using end to end encryption for things like passwords in iCloud Keychain, health data and even protecting your notes and photos.

“Bad actors continue to pour enormous amounts of time and resources into finding more creative and effective ways to steal consumer data, and we won’t rest in our efforts to stop them,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering.

“As threats to consumer data grow, we’ll keep finding ways to fight back on behalf of our users by adding even more powerful protections.”

The report shows a dramatic rise in data breaches since companies started digitising users personal information – and hackers are using more sophisticated methods to get around security that previously held them back.

Cyber criminals steal credentials or information that allows them to target employees or systems within the organisation.

And even when customers do the right thing to secure their sensitive data, the risk is still there from hackers if their information is stored in a readable form by the organisation they trusted with that information.

Recent examples of global data breaches included 23andMe – a genetic testing company which potentially exposed 300TB of user data in October 2023.

Global clothing brand Forever 21 was hacked in early 2023 and exposed personal and health insurance information of more than half a million current and former employees.

MGM Resorts, the global hospitality and entertainment company, was the victim of a ransomware attack in September 2023 which resulted in operational outages across its properties in the US, China and Japan.

In Australia there were two major data breaches – one against Latitude Financial and the other targeting health insurance provider Medibank.  Together this impacted more than 23 million people.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre says reports of cyber crime have increased by 23 per cent in the 2023 fiscal year alone.

Apple developed Lockdown Mode for anyone being targeted with extreme threats like mercenary spyware because of who they are or what they do.

Apple also has Advanced Data Protection for iCloud which can protect against these growing threats and keep most user data in iCloud protected even in the event of a data breach.

The number of ransomware attacks in the first three quarters of 2023 has increased by almost 70 per cent compared to the same period in 2022.

And Australia is in the top four countries being targeted for ransomware alongside the U S, the UK and Canada.