There were 3.08 million cases of personal information definitely or probably being leaked through cyberattacks on companies or other entities in Japan in 2017, a Kyodo News tally showed Saturday.
These figures are based on data security breaches at 82 entities last year — 76 companies, four administrative entities and two universities, according to the tally of confirmed or suspected data breaches.
The corresponding number of cases totaled 2.07 million in 2015, before surging to 12.6 million in 2016 due to a massive data leak at travel agency JTB Corp.
However, the amount of damages stemming from stolen credit card information hit an all-time high last year, as credit card information was involved in 530,000 cases, or roughly one-sixth of the total.
The total amount of damages roughly doubled from a year earlier to 17.6 billion yen ($166 million) in 2017, according to the Japan Consumer Credit Association.
Yet these figures probably understate the extent of the problem, according to some experts.
“There are entities that have yet to confirm data leaks or publicize them. It’s natural to think that there are more cases of personal information leakage,” Harumichi Yuasa, a professor at the Institute of Information Security, said.
Companies handling private information need to have proper risk management systems in place, but some are suspected of using systems that they know have vulnerabilities, Yuasa also said.
Jins Inc., which runs stores around Japan selling eyeglasses, fell victim to the largest data leak in 2017 involving the loss of around 1.19 million email addresses of customers.
Tokyo Metropolitan Television Broadcasting Corp. was the target of the second-largest loss with around 370,000 cases, followed by the Tokyo metropolitan government at around 360,000 cases.
Of some 147,000 suspected cases of personal data leakage from ticket company Pia Corp., around 39,000 involved credit card information.
There are also cases in which information on patients such as names, telephone numbers and medical treatment may have been leaked.