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Browser Cookies Exposed, Human Errors Behind Breach Uptick: News Briefs

Gateshead Council's data breaches on the rise and millions of UK internet browser cookies spill onto dark web.

Gateshead Council's data breaches have escalated year-on-year, reaching 157 incidents in 2023 due to human errors and 14 million UK internet browser cookies have been exposed on the dark web, risking user impersonation and unauthorized account access.

Gateshead Council’s Data Breach Numbers Rise Year-on-Year 

More than 50 data breaches have been recorded by Gateshead Council this year, which have mostly been blamed on human error.

The causes of the breaches include using incorrect email addresses, attaching the wrong documents, and sending letters to the wrong addresses, according to a local news report.

According to published documents, the number of breaches from 2020 have increased every year, from 30 in 2020 to 64 in 2021, rising to 98 in 2022 and 157 in 2023. Now only one third of the way into 2024, and 55 reports have been made.

In 2023’s reports, these include test data being mistakenly made live on council-operated websites, and social work and/or occupational health data being posted to an out-of-date address.

Millions of UK Cookies on Dark Web

Around 14 million internet browser cookies - linked to UK consumers - have surfaced on the dark web.

As part of a detection of 54 billion cookies being leaked globally by NordVPN, 56% of the leaked UK cookies remain ‘active’, indicating potentially ongoing user tracking.

The company claim that the snippets of text can reveal user activity, preferences, and even login credentials. An attacker with a user’s cookies can conduct session hijacking, to impersonate the user and gain unauthorized access to their accounts.

According to the research, more than 2.5 billion cookies in the dataset came from Google, 692 million from YouTube, and 500 million from Microsoft and Bing.

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