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A multi-party breach creates 26 times more financial damage than the damage that can be caused by even the worst single-party breach, according to a new report from Mastercard company RiskRecon and Cyentia Institute.

A bell-curve graph that depicts the density of costs vs. the total costs in USD. A single event median costs $83,925. A ripple event median costs $854,139. A single event 85% costs $17,500,000. A ripple event 95% costs $391,006,750.

The study, “Ripples Across the Risk Surface,” quantifies how a multi-party data breach impacts numerous organizations in today’s interconnected digital world.

The observational data, compiled from more than a decade of publicly reported breaches, point to how widely the waves of impact from a security incident at a single organization can spread across industries and other individual organizations. This is the second edition of the report. Since the release of RiskRecon and Cyentia Institute’s 2019 Ripples Across the Risk Surface report, the technological world has been shocked by several dramatic examples of the damage a single incident can do, wreaking havoc on many downstream organizations.


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Cybersecurity incidents that impact one or two organizations at a time are bad enough, — and now the number of security exposures that create a ripple effect across numerous organizations is increasing. According to the report, four is the median number of organizations impacted by ripple events across the data set analyzed.

The full 2021 report details the outcomes from the research on multi-party breaches and the effect they can have on an organization’s digital supply chain. High-level takeaways include how multi-party incidents have hurt organizations financially since 2008, the different impacts caused by multi-party and single-party security incidents, and the number of days for a typical ripple event to reach 75% of its downstream victims.

The report is based on an analysis of 897 multi-party breaches involving three or more interrelated companies.

Read the full report by RiskRecon and Cyentia Institute.

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