Data breach tsunami hits Australia

Records shatter with 388% spike in Q1 2024

Data breach tsunami hits Australia


By Roxanne Libatique

Australia saw a substantial rise in data breaches in the first quarter of 2024 (Q1 2024), with reports indicating that 1.8 million user accounts were compromised, according to cybersecurity company Surfshark.

The study is based on an analysis of email addresses associated with online services, often leaked alongside other sensitive data such as passwords and financial information. The research team collected this data from 29,000 publicly available databases, which was then anonymised and analysed to assess the scope and impact of global data breaches. Updates on these trends are regularly added to the Data Breach World Map, reflecting the most recent findings.

The latest number of compromised user accounts represents a staggering 388% increase compared to the final quarter of 2023. This surge in data breaches has placed Australia as the world’s 15th most compromised nation, with approximately 140 million accounts impacted since 2004.

Data breaches in Australia in Q1 2024

Surfshark’s research highlighted that among the breached accounts in Australia, 37 million included unique email identifiers. This equates to an average of 13 accounts being compromised every minute since 2004.

The breaches have led to the exposure of a total of 416 million personal records in Australia, including 97 million passwords.

This situation leaves a vast number of individuals at risk of serious cyber threats such as identity theft.

Meanwhile, another study noted an increase in business email compromise, unauthorised access, and cyber extortion in Australia and New Zealand in 2023.

Australia’s biggest public cyber breaches in Q1 2024

The largest data breach recorded in Australia in the recent quarter was at Cutout.Pro, where almost 67,000 emails were leaked. Another major breach was reported at Pandabuy, affecting 24,000 accounts.

In terms of regional comparisons, Australia saw nine times more data breaches than in New Zealand but three times fewer than those reported in the UK during the same period.

Global cyber breaches in Q1 2024

On a global scale, data breaches are on the rise. Surfshark’s ongoing surveillance of these incidents shows an alarming trend: since 2004, more than 17 billion user accounts have been leaked globally, with about 400 million breaches occurring at the start of this year.

The data breaches are most prevalent in the US, Russia, and China, with these countries experiencing the highest number of compromised accounts. Countries like Russia, the US, and South Sudan exhibit the highest rates of breach density per capita.

“We urge everyone to remain vigilant, create strong passwords, refrain from reusing them, and exercise caution when sharing personal information online,” said Surfshark spokesperson Lina Survila.


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