By using website you agree to our use of cookies as described in our cookie policy. Learn More


Identity Theft Resource Center’s 2021 Annual Data Breach Report Reveals New Record for Number of Compromises

The number of 2021 data compromises is 23 percent over the previous all-time high; the number of individuals impacted remains high but dropped for the third consecutive year.

Note: TDWI’s editors carefully choose press releases related to the data and analytics industry. We have edited and/or condensed this release to highlight key information but make no claims as to its accuracy.

The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), a nationally recognized nonprofit organization established to support victims of identity crime, has released its 16th Annual Data Breach Report, supported by Sontiq, a TransUnion company.

According to the 2021 Annual Data Breach Report, the overall number of data compromises (1,862) is up more than 68 percent compared to 2020. The new record number of data compromises is 23 percent over the previous all-time high (1,506) set in 2017. The number of data events that involved sensitive information (e.g., Social Security numbers) increased slightly compared to 2020 (83 percent versus 80 percent). However, it remained well below the previous high of 95 percent set in 2017.

The number of victims continues to decrease (down five percent in 2021 compared to the previous year) as identity criminals focus more on specific data types rather than mass data acquisition. However, the number of consumers whose data was compromised multiple times per year remains alarmingly high.

Other findings in the 2021 Annual Data Breach Report include:

  • Ransomware-related data breaches have doubled in each of the past two years. At the current rate, ransomware attacks will surpass phishing as the number one root cause of data compromises in 2022.
  • There were more cyberattack-related data compromises (1,603) in 2021 than all data compromises in 2020 (1,108).
  • Compromises increased year-over-year in every primary sector but one -- military -- where there were no data breaches publicly disclosed. The manufacturing and utilities sector saw the largest percentage increase in data compromises at 217 percent over 2020.
  • The number of data breach notices that do not reveal the root cause of a compromise (607) has grown by more than 190 percent since 2020.

“There is no reason to believe the level of data compromises will suddenly decline in 2022,” said Eva Velasquez, president and CEO of the ITRC. “As organizations of all sizes struggle to defend the data they hold, it is essential that everyone practice good cyber-hygiene to protect themselves and their loved ones from these crimes.” []

Consumers and victims can receive free support and guidance from a knowledgeable live advisor by calling 888.400.5530 or visiting the ITRC’s website to live-chat.

Download the ITRC’s 2021 Annual Data Breach Report at

TDWI Membership

Get immediate access to training discounts, video library, research, and more.

Find the right level of Membership for you.