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Personal information was compromised or lost at a total of 88 publicly traded companies and their subsidiaries in Japan in 2020, the highest number since such data began being collected in 2012, according to a survey by Tokyo Shoko Research Ltd.

In total, personal information on 25.15 million people was compromised, the credit research firm said.

Including unlisted companies, the number of such cases may reach astronomical figures, it said.

Computer viruses and unauthorized access accounted for about half of the total cases reported. Such errors as sending emails by mistake made up some 30%.

Cyberattacks tend to affect information on many people, according to Tokyo Shoko Research.

In December, PayPay Corp., a smartphone payment service provider, said that a server containing information on all 2.6 million member stores was hit by unauthorized access.

In the PayPay case, some 20.07 million items of information such as the names of representatives of the member stores and PayPay employees may have been compromised.

Behind the surge in the number of cases in which information was compromised is that many companies have been rushing to promote digitalization and remote work, experts said.

“There is a possibility of companies failing to take sufficient security measures,” said Masayo Fujimoto, a professor at the Institute of Information Security.

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