According to Atlas VPN research compiled from various publicly available sources, the number of exposed government and individual politician records increased by 278% when comparing the first quarters of 2019 and 2020.

During the first quarter of 2019, there were over 4,5-million breached records of individual politicians or government bodies globally. Meanwhile, in 2020 Q1, the number of leaked records skyrocketed, reaching over 17-million and representing a growth of nearly three times.

Rachel Welsh, chief operating officer of Atlas VPN, shares her thoughts on why the number of government data leaks surged in the first quarter of 2020: “Hackers are always searching for networks that have not implemented the latest cybersecurity measures.

“This year, it happens to be the case that government websites and applications had many security vulnerabilities. It is unfortunate to see that governments do not invest in protecting their networks the best they can since they are responsible for their citizen’s data.”

In the most significant government breach, in March 2020, The Dutch government disclosed losing two external hard drives. Both of the drives had personal information of over 6,9-million organ donors stored.

To this day, it is still unknown who the malicious actor was. There is also no evidence of anyone attempting to use the stolen information.

It has to be noted that it is often the case that data breaches come to light only after a few months. Hence, due to the coronavirus pandemic and increased hacker activity, the actual number of 2020 Q1 data breaches might be exponentially higher.

Last month, malware, phishing, command, and control were the most common types of cyberattacks. With 53%, the malware was the most popular way hackers used to intercept devices.