Data breaches in the US rose by 20% in the first nine months of 2023 as compared to the full year of 2022, according to an Apple-backed study.

“The target for cybercriminals was very clear, with a 2023 survey finding that over 80 percent of breaches involved data stored in the cloud,” Apple said in a report citing the study.

The study was conducted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Stuart E. Madnick, about a year after the iPhone maker rolled out a new feature — Advanced Data Protection for iCloud — to expand end-to-end encryption for data stored in its iCloud service.

Apple also said: “The total number of data breaches more than tripled between 2013 and 2022 — exposing 2.6 billion personal records in the past two years alone — and has continued to get worse in 2023.”

Technology companies are frequently attacked by hackers because they provide services to valuable targets, the study observed.

Earlier this year, tech giant Microsoft was hit by Chinese hackers who managed to steal tens of thousands of US State Department emails.

“Bad actors continue to pour enormous amounts of time and resources into finding more creative and effective ways to steal consumer data, and we won’t rest in our efforts to stop them,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, in the report posted on the company’s website.

“As threats to consumer data grow, we’ll keep finding ways to fight back on behalf of our users by adding even more powerful protections,” added Federighi.

According to the study, 98% of organisations have a tie-up with at least one technology vendor that experienced a data breach in the last two years. 

“In today’s interconnected world, virtually every organisation relies on a wide range of vendors and software. As a result, hackers only need to exploit vulnerabilities in third-party software or a vendor’s system to gain access to the data stored by every organization that relies on that vendor,” the study said.

The end-to-end data encryption is designed in such a way that it is impossible for the company that stores the data or anyone else to unscramble a user’s data.


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Published: 07 Dec 2023, 11:06 PM IST