The Staggering Losses of Data Breaches Around the World

data breaches

Data breaches and data losses have become a significant concern globally, with the United States being particularly affected. In 2022, more than 15 million data records were stolen, and an alarming 64% of all data losses occurred in the United States. Several states within the country have experienced significant data breaches, with California, Oregon, Maryland, Georgia, and Virginia ranking among the top five states in terms of data losses. California, being one of the most populous states and a hub for technology and innovation, saw a staggering 5,604,164,335 records compromised. 

What Causes Data Breaches and Data Losses?

Human error emerges as the primary cause of data loss, often resulting from mistakes, inexperience, or accidental deletion. Other significant causes include malware attacks and unexpected events such as hardware failures, software glitches, and natural disasters. These factors collectively contribute to data losses and breaches, highlighting the need for better training and security measures within organizations.

Across the globe, numerous industries have fallen victim to data breaches. In a span of just one year, 5,212 businesses worldwide experienced confirmed data loss incidents. Among the industries affected the most, finance stands out with 690 incidents, followed closely by finance with 571 incidents. Transportation, public administration, and manufacturing industries also suffered significant data breaches. Hackers and spammers are actively targeting these industries due to the valuable data they hold.

While it is impossible to quantify the full extent of data loss throughout human history, there have been some notable incidents. The Library of Alexandria, a renowned center of knowledge, was destroyed during Caesar’s civil war in 48 BC, resulting in the loss of a staggering estimated 571.42 GB of data stored in 500,000 scrolls. The Royal Library of Ashurbanipal in Nineveh suffered the sacking in 600 BC, resulting in the loss of approximately 13.71 GB of data contained in 12,000 tablets. In 1562 AD, Spanish conquistadors destroyed 20,040 religious codices in Mesoamerica, leading to an estimated data loss of 23 GB. 


Data loss is not limited to the United States; it impacts countries worldwide. The statistics reveal the extent of data loss by continent between 2013 and 2020. North America, led by the United States, experienced a staggering loss of over 6 billion data records. Other continents, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia, also suffered significant data losses, highlighting the global nature of this issue. It will only continue to become more important as we continue to store our information using technology rather than physical copies. 

The World's Largest Data Breaches