Data leakage attacks grew by 93 percent in 2020 shows Imperva research

Published: Friday, 29 January 2021 09:31

Imperva researchers monitored an unprecedented 93 percent rise in the exposure of information through online data leakage attacks in 2020 - incidents where data was transmitted from an organization’s corporate network to an external destination, whether accidentally or deliberately, without authorisation. This came at a time when organizations further evolved their traditional IT infrastructure into an ecosystem of APIs, microservices and hybrid or multi-cloud environments. Imperva’s researchers detected 883,865 data leakage attacks worldwide at the start of 2020; by December, that number had soared to more than 1.7 million. When considering that data leakage can also happen via physical means, for instance through lost or stolen devices or verbal communication, the final figure of all data leakage will be even higher.

The research from Imperva shows the number of data leakage incidents accelerated in the second half of 2020. Between Q3 2020 and Q4 2020, there was a 47 percent increase in information disclosure through data leakage attacks. In the healthcare industry alone, the single-day peak for data leakage attacks in early January 2021 – 9,008 – is higher than any day in 2020.

Imperva expects this trend to continue in 2021 as more organizations realize the impact of the record volume of attacks they faced over the past 12 months.

There are immediate actions organizations can take to protect their data: