3 key numbers on data crime

The numbers on data crime

Putting numbers to some of the biggest trends in data crime, including the world's largest privacy vulnerability, the number of personal records lost in data security breaches, and the rise of cryptography-based ransomware.

191 million

Number of US voters whose information was mistakenly exposed on the open internet in what is now accepted as the world’s largest privacy vulnerability. A computer security researcher reported the hole in December 2015. The database’s owner has never been publically revealed. Other victims of privacy breaches in recent months have ranged from the US FBI to crowdfunding service Patreon and several health firms.

Perhaps the worst recent breach is the accessing of 22.1 million records from the US Office of Personnel Management in June last year. The records included background-check data and more than 1.1 million fingerprint records.


Rise in companies choosing not to report the number of records lost in data security breaches, according to security firm Symantec. In an April 2016 threat report, Symantec called the rising secrecy “a disturbing trend”. Its “conservative estimate” is that more than half a billion personal records were lost or stolen in 2015.

Professional Development: Detecting fraud using data analytics: this course covers the role data analytics has in the identification of uncommercial transactions for later review and, if justified, investigation. It is one of the key ways in which uncommercial transactions can be identified.

A December 2015 global survey from another security firm, Gemalto, suggests an explanation for the secrecy: 49 per cent of consumers said they were unlikely to shop or do business again with a company that had experienced a breach where personal information was stolen.


Rise in cryptography-based ransomware over 2015, according to Symantec. In this form of attack, victims’ files are encrypted and money is demanded in return for unlocking the data.

“An extremely profitable type of attack, ransomware will continue to ensnare PC users and expand to any network-connected device that can be held hostage for a profit,” says Symantec’s report. Smartphones, Macs and Linux systems have all now been targeted.

Like what you're reading? Enter your email to receive the INTHEBLACK e-newsletter.
December/January 2022
December/January 2022

Read the December/January issue of INTHEBLACK in digital magazine format.

Our digital magazine brings you quality content every month, in an interactive and sustainable format you can enjoy on a PC, tablet or mobile.