Published on April 15th, 2020 📆 | 1659 Views ⚑0
278% Rise in Leaked Government Records During Q1 of 2020
There has been a huge rise in the number of breached records of governments and individual politicians in the first quarter of 2020, according to research from Atlas VPN. The study showed there were 17 million leaked government records during this period: a 278% increase compared with the first quarter of 2019.
These included several high profile cases, which left sensitive data of citizens exposed to cyber-criminals. In March 2020, the Dutch government disclosed losing two external hard drives, each containing the personal information of over 6.9 million organ donors. In this case, it remains unknown who was responsible and there is currently no evidence of anyone attempting to use the information.
In another case, the records of 6.5 million Israeli citizens voters were leaked online in February, and in the same month, the government of Quebec, Canada, admitted to a data breach that has potentially exposed the records of 360,000 teachers.
The findings serve as a wake-up call for governments around the world.
Rachel Welsh, COO of Atlas VPN, commented: “Hackers are always searching for networks that have not implemented the latest cybersecurity measures. This year, it happens to be the case that government websites and applications had many security vulnerabilities. It is unfortunate to see that governments do not invest in protecting their networks the best they can since they are responsible for their citizen’s data.”
The report also revealed that malware, phishing and command and control were the most common types of cyber-attacks to take place during March. Malware was the single most common method hackers used to intercept devices, reaching 80,000 attempts globally, representing 53% of all cyber-attacks last month.
Atlas also noted that the real number of government data breaches in this period could be “exponentially higher,” with many exposures not revealed until a few months later. This is even more likely in light of increased hacker activity related to the COVID-19 pandemic.