Average American Affected by Data Breaches 7 Times

The latest study by cybersecurity company Surfshark shows the United States is the most breached country since 2004, with 2.3 billion compromised internet users. Russia comes second holding 2.2 billion affected users, followed by China, Germany and France.

The scale of breached American accounts is so massive that it makes up around 15 percent of all breached users globally. Statistically, every U.S. internet user has lost 27 data points on average to online breaches, most of the emails, passwords and usernames. More than two-thirds of American accounts are leaked with the password, putting 72 percent of breached users in danger of account takeover that might lead to identity theft, extortion or other cybercrimes.

Surfshark’s latest content project is a tool that shows how countries are affected by breaches according to data from 27,000 leaked databases. The study reports the United States is first by breached accounts and has been in the top three positions every quarter since 2020. The country had a striking 2.3 billion breached users since 2004, the year when data breaches became widespread. Historically, the United States has given up the first place only to India, Iran and in recent months, Russia.

A combined sum of 8.7 billion American last names, IPs, first names, passwords, usernames, and other data has been sold or leaked online since 2004. This means there is a high likelihood that a certain username was grouped with other personal data, giving criminals direct access to various victims’ profiles, emails, photos or documents. Especially when per every 10 leaked American accounts, there are seven breached passwords found in the datasets.

 “On a global scale, 191 accounts are breached per 100 people on average,” said Agneska Sablovskaja, Data Researcher at Surfshark. “However, in the U.S., this number goes up to 694 per 100 people. Statistically speaking, a single American person has had around seven instances in which they were victims of data breaches.”

In terms of breach rate, U.S. statistics (694 breaches per 100 people) look more positive than runner-up Russia. So far in Russia, 1,489 are breached per every hundred people, meaning there is virtually no chance to not be subject to some sort of cybercrime if you live in that country. While China stands third in terms of total breached users, its rate is 69 per 100 due to the enormous size of the population.

The Data Breach World Map was developed in partnership with independent cybersecurity researchers, who collected loads of user data from 27,000 breached databases that appeared online. Researchers could sort those combinations based on specific data points, such as countries, and perform a statistical analysis of their findings. Users’ locations were identified by email or website domain name, country, city, coordinates, IP address, locale, currency or phone number.

The Data Breach World Map is updated every month. At the time of this particular study, the data analyzed were from June 1, 2022. When determining rank according to breach rates per 100 people, populations of less than 1 million were excluded for accuracy. For the full methodology FAQ, please refer to: https://surfshark.com/research/data-breach-monitoring/methodology