Fri. Jun 2nd, 2023

Content Assessment: A Lighter Shade of Red? Data Breaches Decline Globally in Early 2023

Information - 94%
Insight - 92%
Relevance - 90%
Objectivity - 89%
Authority - 91%



A short percentage-based assessment of the qualitative benefit of the recent Global Data Breach Quarterly Report from Surfshark.

Editor’s Note: From time to time, ComplexDiscovery highlights publicly available or privately purchasable announcements, content updates, and research from cyber, data, and legal discovery providers, research organizations, and ComplexDiscovery community members. While ComplexDiscovery regularly highlights this information, it does not assume any responsibility for content assertions.

Contact us today to submit recommendations for consideration and inclusion in ComplexDiscovery’s data and legal discovery-centric service, product, or research announcements.

Background Note: Surfshark is a privacy protection toolset developed to help its users control their online presence seamlessly. The company also regularly publishes industry updates on global data breaches. The latest update from Surfshark on global data breaches was published on May 10, 2023. This new update may be beneficial for cybersecurity, information governance, and legal discovery professionals seeking to better understand and address cybersecurity threats and the volume, velocity, and veracity of those threats.

Media Release* (May 10, 2023)

Data Breaches Declined Globally at the Beginning of 2023

One user account was leaked every second in Q1’2023

The latest study by cybersecurity company Surfshark shows that a total of 41.6M accounts were breached in Q1’2023, with Russia ranking first and amounting to a sixth of all breaches from January through March. The United States takes second place, while Taiwan appears in third place after extreme quarter-over-quarter growth, followed by France and Spain. A 49% decrease in breached users worldwide is seen compared to Q4’2022. However, the biggest QoQ spikes were seen in Asian countries: Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea.

Global data from Surfshark’s data breach statistics update (Q1’2023) records 41.6M leaked accounts, with Russia being 1st in the world (6.6M), followed by the U.S. (5M), Taiwan (3.9M), France (3.2M), and Spain (3.2M). Taiwan saw the highest quarter-over-quarter increase (21x), placing its total of 4M leaked accounts 3rd in Q1’2023. The country had only placed 26th in Q4’2022’ with 191K breached users. Globally, data breaches declined, dropping to one user account leaked every second in Q1’2023.

Graphic: Q1 Data Breach Overview (Surfshark)

2023Q1 Data Breach Overview – Surfshark

“According to Surfshark’s study, data breaches declined globally in the first quarter of 2023 if we compare it to the previous one,” says Agneska Sablovskaja, Lead Researcher at Surfshark. “However, the fact that over 40 million accounts were breached in just a few months is still a cause for concern. Those whose data was compromised are at an increased risk of being targeted by cybercriminals as their personal information can be utilized for phishing attacks, fraud, identity theft, and other serious cybercrimes.

Europe was the most affected region by breaches in Q1’2023, followed by Asia and North America

In Q1’2023, Europe was also the only region with a significant quarter-over-quarter increase in its statistics on data breaches. The number nearly doubled, growing from 9.9M in Q4’2022 to 17.5M in Q1’2023. To put this into perspective, 2 out of 5 accounts breached in Q1’2023 were of European origin, with 38% of these being Russian. Within the region, the biggest quarter-over-quarter spikes in data breaches were recorded in Czechia (almost 9x), Armenia (around 6x), and Switzerland (6x).

Asia was the second-most vulnerable region, accounting for around a fourth of the quarter’s breaches (10.6M). The three countries that saw the highest quarter-over-quarter increase overall were all Asian — Taiwan and Saudi Arabia both had around 20 times more leaked accounts in Q1’2023 than in Q4’2022, while South Korea saw its number increase 12 times.

An additional 13% of the accounts were North American (5.3M). All other regions comprised less than 5% of the quarter’s total. Out of all regions, Africa saw the greatest quarter-over-quarter decrease — a whopping 33 times, bringing its total of 18.6M leaked accounts in Q4’2022 down to 557.6K in Q1’2023.

Graphic: Q1 Regions Most Affected by Breaches

2023Q1 Regions Most Affected by Data Breaches

Some of the biggest breaches by email count were Sberbank (Russia), with 2.9M accounts leaked, Weee! (United States) with 1.1M, and Zurich Insurance (Switzerland) with 756.7K.

Graphic: Q1 Biggest Breaches by Email Count

2023Q1 Biggest Breaches by Email Count

 The ten most breached countries of Q1’2023, in descending order, are Russia, the U.S., Taiwan, France, Spain, India, Czechia, South Korea, and Italy. The highest growth in user victims was spotted in Taiwan (21x), Saudi Arabia (19x), South Korea (12x), Czechia (9x), and Armenia (7x).


The data was collected by our independent partners from 29,000 publicly available databases and aggregated by email address. To determine the location of the email address, our partners’ mechanism looked into several associated parameters, such as domain names, IP addresses, locales, coordinates, currency or phone numbers. This data was then anonymized and passed on to Surfshark’s researchers to perform a statistical analysis of their findings.

The Data Breach World Map is updated every month with the most recent data from our independent partners. At the time of this particular study, the data analyzed was from April 1st, 2023. The numbers from October to December 2022 were compared with data aggregated from January to March 2023. Countries with a population of less than 1M people are not included in the analysis. For the full methodology, please refer to:

About Surfshark

Surfshark is a privacy protection toolset developed to help its users control their online presence seamlessly. The Surfshark One suite includes one of the very few VPNs audited by independent security experts, an officially certified antivirus, a private search tool, and a data leak alert system. In 2021, Surfshark was recognized as the Most Innovative Security Service at the Cybersecurity Excellence Awards and a Must-have App in TechRadar’s WFH Awards. Visit our research hub at:

Read the complete media release.

*Assisted by GAI and LLM Technologies

Additional Reading

Source: ComplexDiscovery


Generative Artificial Intelligence and Large Language Model Use

ComplexDiscovery OÜ recognizes the value of GAI and LLM tools in streamlining content creation processes and enhancing the overall quality of its research, writing, and editing efforts. To this end, ComplexDiscovery OÜ regularly employs GAI tools, including ChatGPT and DALL-E2, to assist, augment, and accelerate the development and publication of both new and revised content in posts and pages published (initiated in late 2022).

ComplexDiscovery also provides a ChatGPT-powered AI article assistant for its users. This feature leverages LLM capabilities to generate relevant and valuable insights related to specific page and post content published on By offering this AI-driven service, ComplexDiscovery OÜ aims to create a more interactive and engaging experience for its users, while highlighting the importance of responsible and ethical use of GAI and LLM technologies.


Have a Request?

If you have information or offering requests that you would like to ask us about, please let us know and we will make our response to you a priority.

ComplexDiscovery is a premier online publication renowned for providing essential insights and intelligence in the realms of cybersecurity, information governance, and legal discovery to professionals navigating these fields. As a leading source of information, the publication expertly combines original research with aggregated news to cater to a highly specialized audience. Committed to enhancing readers’ understanding of relevant topics, ComplexDiscovery stands as an impartial and comprehensive resource for exploring trends, technologies, and services associated with electronically stored information.

The driving force behind this influential publication is ComplexDiscovery OÜ, a technology marketing firm that excels in strategic planning and tactical execution for organizations operating within these sectors. Registered as a private limited company in Estonia, a global leader in digital advancements, ComplexDiscovery OÜ dedicates its primary focus to supporting the publication. The company capitalizes on its virtual presence to provide marketing consulting and services to a diverse array of clients around the world, further solidifying its reputation as a leading voice in the eDiscovery ecosystem.

Send this to a friend