Data Breaches Up in First Quarter of 2022

The Identity Theft Resource Center says the number of breaches rose 14% from year-ago levels.

Bree Fowler Senior Writer
Bree Fowler writes about cybersecurity and digital privacy. Before joining CNET she reported for The Associated Press and Consumer Reports. A Michigan native, she's a long-suffering Detroit sports fan, world traveler, wannabe runner and champion baker of over-the-top birthday cakes and all-things sourdough.
Expertise cybersecurity, digital privacy, IoT, consumer tech, smartphones, wearables
Bree Fowler

Protect yourself. Data breaches continue to increase.

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The number of publicly reported data breaches increased 14% in the first quarter of this year, as cybercriminals continued to attack both businesses and consumers, the Identity Theft Resource Center said Wednesday.

The ITRC, a nonprofit that helps victims of identity theft, said there were 404 breaches in the first three months of this year, up from 354 in the same period a year ago. The vast majority of the 2022 quarter's breaches stemmed from cyberattacks, including 110 from phishing attacks and 67 from ransomware attacks.

At the same time, the number of people to fall victim to a data breach dropped by half from a year ago, to 20.7 million, as cybercriminals continued to move away from massive data heists in favor of smaller, more targeted, attacks.

ITRC President and CEO Eva Velasquez said the fact that the number of data breaches rose by double digits from a year ago could be a sign that compromises will continue to increase this year after reaching record highs in 2021. She urged consumers to do their best to protect their personal information.

Last year, the ITRC recorded a total of 1,862 breaches, representing a 68 percent increase from 1,108 in 2020.