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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A decade's worth of security breaches, visualized

It seems that not a week goes by without yet another report of a data breach. The sheer number of data loss is staggering, but sometimes it's hard to comprehend just how much of our personal data is being stolen.
If you subscribe to the "picture is worth a thousand words" idea, then we suggest you head over to see for yourself. The folks over there have compiled a list of all data breaches of over 30,000 records that occured within the past decade and applied some interesting visualization techniques to it. By default, the size of each individual bubble is tied to the number of records lost during the breach, but that can be changed to instead display based on the sensitivity of the lost data. The site also allows you to filter based on the type of organisation (academic, tech, government, etc) and the method of data leak (hacking, lost/stolen computers, virus, etc). Most of the bubbles can be clicked on to provide more information on each of the breaches.
Reading about individual attacks just isn't the same as watching large circles float on the screen, the size of each related directly to the scale of the attack, and some interesting information can be gleaned with a few clicks of a mouse. For example, for all of the talk about viruses, they were only responsible for a single large breach: Massachusetts Government. It's also interesting to note that it appears most of these large security breaches revolve around government agencies and healthcare, and not surprisingly, they're also some of the most sensitive data being lost/stolen.
It's an interesting visualization of the security world and definitely worth taking a few minutes to explore.
Source: Information Is Beautiful | Image via Information is Beautiful

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