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Report: Canada Ranked Among Top 10 Countries with Highest Number of Data Breaches

A new study shows Canada has among the highest number of data breaches leading to a leak of consumer data.

The study, by NordPass, puts Canada at 8th in terms of total reported data breaches over the last four years, compared to other major countries.

The study indicates the United States had the highest number of reported data breaches from 2019 to 2023 at 2,264, followed by India with 745, and the UK with 680.

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By comparison, Canada had 211. That number is also lower than Brazil, Spain, France, and Germany.

However, the study is not adjusted for population size—it simply indicates total data breaches. Most of the countries ahead of Canada on the list also have higher populations.

The survey found 56 percent of the companies that had customer data leaked were private companies.

In addition, companies with less than 50 employees were most often exposed to attacks aimed at getting customer data. That suggests that small- and medium-sized businesses may lack the resources and workforce to invest enough in cybersecurity, said a NordPass news release.

That’s also one of the findings of a report on cyberthreat assessment put out in August by the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security.

“Cybercriminals will continue to evolve new TTPs [Tactics, Techniques and Procedures], including targeting more small- and medium-sized organizations, in order to avoid attention-grabbing higher profile attacks,” said the report.

“Fraud and scams are almost certainly the most common form of cybercrime that Canadians will experience over the next two years, as cybercriminals attempt to steal personal, financial, and corporate information,” the report added.

According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, there were over 70,000 reports of fraud in 2022, involving over $530 million.

And that’s likely just the tip of the iceberg.

“Unfortunately, the increase in financial loss isn’t tied to an increase in reporting—the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre estimates that only 5 to 10 per cent of people report fraud,” the organization said in a news release.

The Centre for Cyber Security said stolen information can be used by criminals in a variety of ways.

“Cybercriminals sell stolen PII [personally identifiable information], credit card information, and compromised credentials on darknet marketplaces and Telegram channels,” said the report. “In some cases, information stolen during frauds and scams is leveraged to conduct other cybercrime, such as ransomware.”

Dealing with cybercrime is expensive for any business.

A report by Statistics Canada called “The Changing Landscape of Cyber Security Following the COVID-19 Pandemic” found the average cost of dealing with a cybercrime rose to $19,000 in 2021, up from $11,000 just two years earlier.

The average cost of cybercrime for a large business with over 250 employees was $172,000 in 2021, more than double the $73,000 average in 2019.

The trend to more online shopping has also made businesses more vulnerable.

“While a growing online presence has created new opportunities for many businesses, it has also exposed them to new risks regarding privacy, data protection, and cyber security,” said the StatsCan report.

Spending on prevention and detection is up 46 percent, the average cost being $52,000 per company. Large companies averaged expenses in excess of $1 million on cybercrime prevention in 2021, compared with $667,000 in 2019.

Small companies with 10–49 employees spent an average of $19,000 in 2021, which is almost double what it was in 2019.

But not all companies are investing in protection. The survey found about 40 percent were not spending at all on cybercrime prevention.

NordPass is a company that offers a secure solution for passwords, passkeys, credit cards, and more, and is owned by NordVPN, which offers virtual private networks (VPN).

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