2019 Cyber Review - Millions Affected by Breaches

2019 Cyber Review - Millions Affected by Breaches

Though National Cyber Security Awareness month may be behind us, the focus on cybercrime remains constant. Just this year, there have been reports of massive data breaches in major corporations like Uber, DoorDash, Canva, and Desjardins. However, as we have discussed in the past, the vast majority of data breaches aren’t ever actually reported on – because they happen to small-to-medium sized businesses.

This is reflected in new data published by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC). According to their findings, approximately 28 million Canadians have been affected by data breach incidents over the past 12 months.

What’s concerning about this is that, 12 months ago, the Personal Information Protection and Privacy Act (PIPEDA) came into effect – and it seems to have done little in the way of slowing down the rise of cybercrime. However, one positive aspect of this act is that companies are now legally required to report breaches; ensuring that there is transparency in this process.

This level of transparency is quite telling in these new findings – as 680 incidents were reported to the OPC over the past year. According to the organization, this is six times as many as they had received prior to PIPEDA coming into effect.

There are two things that are clearly concerning about this. Firstly, companies will not voluntarily hold themselves accountable to cyberattacks. Secondly, the rise in cybercrimes is happening at an exponential level – with protection capabilities consistently playing catch-up against hackers.

According to their findings, 58% of all breach incidents could be put down to foul play – with either targeted hacking or employee malpractice at the centre of the attacks. The second biggest reason was “accidental disclosure” – i.e., mistakes made by employees by sending confidential information to the wrong parties.

The third major cause for breaches was down to people losing their laptops, hard drives, or USB devices and them falling into the hands of someone with mal-intent; and, along similar lines, the final cause was theft of such devices.

Now, let’s get to the really scary part. 28 million Canadians have been effected just over the past 12 months. That is an absurdly high number even before it’s put into context. However, with context, it becomes mind-blowing. According to Statista, almost 34 million Canadians currently have access to the Internet – which comes to about 96% of the population. This means that over 81% of all Canadian internet users have had their data exposed.

That is an unbelievable percentage. But is it really that surprising? The vast, vast majority of internet users don’t have the time or resources to learn how to protect themselves properly. Since businesses now almost exclusively operate on online platforms, is it really that surprising that so many people are so easily targeted?


There is undeniable proof that cyber protection should be amongst the absolute priorities for everyone going forward – businesses and individuals alike. That is where we can help. Contact one of our licensed experts today at 905-696-9090 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to find out how we can help you stay protected from cyber criminals. 


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