California experienced more data breaches than any other state in the past decade: report

California experienced more data breaches than any other state in the past decade: report
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California has suffered more data breaches and personal records exposed than any other state in the U.S. over the past decade, with almost 1,500 data breach incidents, a new report has found.

The report, published Thursday by consumer group Comparitech, found that data breach incidents in California led to 5.6 billion personal records being exposed. Oregon came second on the number of records exposed at around 1.3 billion, while New York ranked second on the number of data breaches, at 729.

Comparitech used information on data breaches collected by the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse and the Identity Theft Resource Center to examine the number of breaches in each state between 2008 and 2019. 

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The number of breaches and personal information exposed were assigned to the states where the breach occurred, though for some breaches that were more widespread, the numbers were assigned to the state where the headquarters of the company breached was located at the time.  

Comparitech estimated that in total since 2008, there have been almost 10,000 data breaches in the U.S., exposing around 10.7 billion personal records. The group said this amounts to around $1.6 trillion lost in the past decade.

Major, nationwide data breaches over the past decade significantly impacted the total in certain states. One example of this is the state of Maryland, with the report finding that of 388 million personal records exposed in this state, 383 million were due to the data breach of Marriott International, which is headquartered in Bethesda, MD.

The state of Georgia is another example, where almost half of its 351 million personal records exposed were due to the breach of credit bureau Equifax, headquartered in Atlanta. This breach involved the names, Social Security numbers, birth dates and addresses more than 145.5 million Americans being stolen by a malicious actor. 

The five states with the least amount of data breaches in the past decade were Hawaii, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming and West Virginia, with companies in each of these states experiencing a total of less than 30 data breaches. Joining California and New York in the top five in number of breaches were Texas, Florida and Georgia.