Australia now world leader in data breaches following Medibank breach

Australia now has the highest data breach density in the world, up 489% this quarter (and counting). Globally, data breaches decreased by 70.8%, while Australian breaches jumped by 1,550%. In fact, Australia’s data breach density is 24 times the global average.

Australia, the lucky country, is decidedly unlucky with a string of data breaches – of which Medibank is the most notable, now making us the data breach capital of the world.

Surfshark is a set of privacy protection tools developed to help its users control their online presence seamlessly. Its data breach monitoring research now reveals that an average of 22 Australian accounts are breached every minute this quarter. This is the highest quarterly spike this decade, coming from two breaches per minute last quarter. This is a 489% increase and already reflects the theft of 1.88 million Australian user profiles this quarter, up from 300,000 last quarter.

“Overall, data breaches decreased by 70.8% from October to November. In Australia, however, data breaches jumped 1,550%, from 107,659 in October to 1,776,065 in November. is largely due to the Medibank cyberattack, which led to the breach of 1.75 million email accounts – says Agneska Sablovskaja, principal researcher at Surfshark.

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The Medibank data breach was the second biggest data breach in Australia in the last decade. With 1.75 million email accounts exposed, this breach comes second only to the 2020 Wattpad breach, which exposed 2.45 million Australian accounts.

7,387 accounts were disclosed for 100,000 Australians in the first two months of this quarter – the highest density of breaches in the world. Data breach density in Australia is 24 times higher than the global average. Russia comes in second at 3x lower (2,568/100K), followed by Turkey in third place (2,421/100K).

Our friends across the divide in New Zealand have a breach density of 532 counts per 100,000 people, nearly 14 times less than Australia. As of the last quarter, both countries had similar fault densities (1185/100K in New Zealand and 1255/100K in Australia).

According to historic Surfshark data collected from 2004, Australia is 16th in the world in total data breaches. Since 2004, the country has had 125.8 million hacked accounts. The United States leads with 9.73 billion hacked accounts in total, followed by Russia (3.65 billion) and China (1.85 billion). If big data breaches continue to happen in Australia, the country may not be far behind those countries for long.

Note that Surfshark’s data breach monitoring is based on the number of unique email addresses disclosed and is lower than figures published by Australian companies, as not all account information disclosed includes an email address. and some e-mail addresses are repetitive.

The Surfshark Global Data Breach Map was developed in conjunction with independent cybersecurity researchers, who collected user data from 27,000 breached databases that surfaced online. Researchers could then sort these combinations by specific data points, such as countries, and perform statistical analysis of their results. User locations were identified by email or website domain name, country, city, contact information, IP address, locale, currency, or phone number.

The Global Data Breach Map is updated monthly with the latest data from our independent partners. At the time of this particular study, the data analyzed was from October 1, 2022. Figures from July to September 2020 were compared to aggregate data from April to June 2022. Countries with a population of less than 1 million people are not not included in the analysis. The complete methodology is available online.


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