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The 21 Biggest Data Breaches Of The 21st Century

21 Biggest Data Breaches of the 21st Century

What is a Data Breach and When Do They Happen?

A data breach takes place when a cyber criminal infiltrates a data source in order to obtain highly classified data. In some cases, they may bypass the network security remotely. Local files may also be stolen by accessing a network or computer. Today, data breach protective measures are as important as they have ever been.

What are the Causes of Data Breach?

Today, one of the biggest security issues faced by companies from around the world is the danger of a data breach. Weak passwords are often the cause of a data breach, as it can be easy to decode an easy password. The theft or loss of a corporate asset may also lead to a data breach. Poorly designed networks and software applications that are poorly written may also lead to a data breach, as hackers enjoy exploiting such glaring issues for personal or financial gain.

Malware threats and phishing attacks may also lead to a data breach in some instances. A device that carries copious amounts of personal data can also be stolen physically in some cases, albeit this tends to be a rare occurrence. In some cases an insider attack can lead to a data breach. For instance, a former employee who has become disgruntled may decide to get revenge by stealing data in order to share company intel with a competitor.

21 Biggest Data Breaches of the 21st Century

Yahoo, Facebook, and Adult Friend Finder

In 2013, Yahoo user accounts were hacked. 3 billion customers were affected. Information such as telephone number, birthdays, email addresses, and even the real names of users were stolen. From 2010 to 2018 Facebook experienced a data breach thanks to a vulnerability issue that was exploited by hackers. About 50 million users were at risk of having their personal user data stolen. In October of 2016 over 400 million accounts were compromised at Adult Friend Finder. Passwords, email addresses, and names from six databases, over the course of two decades, was stolen.

Ebay, Equifax, and Heartland Payment Systems

In May of 2014, 145 million users were compromised at Ebay. .Encrypted passwords, emails, birthdays, names, and even addresses of users were stolen. On July 29th, 2017 over 200,000 customer had their had their credit card information exposed at Equifax. Furthermore, 143 million customers had their birthdays, addresses, and other information stolen. Some had their driver license numbers stolen, while others had their social security numbers stolen. In March of 2008, 134 million credit cards were exposed via SQL injection. The data systems of Heartland Payment Systems were compromised and spyware was installed.

Target Stores, TJX Companies Inc, and Uber

In December, 2013, Target Stores were attacked by hackers. 110 million people had their information compromised. Debit card and credit card information was stolen and other contact information was also stolen. In December of 2006, 94 million credit cards were exposed at TJX Companies Incorporated. In late 2016, the personal information of 57 million uber users was taken, as well a the personal details of 600,000 uber drivers.

JP Morgan Chase, US Office of Personnel Management, and Sony’s PSN

In July of 2014, 7 million small businesses and 76 million households had their personal data stolen at JP Morgan Chase. From 2012 to 2014 the personal information of 22 million former and current federal employees was stolen from the US Office of Personnel Management. It was later discovered that the hackers were from China. In addition, on April 20th, 2011, 77 million Playstation Network Users had their personal data stolen. The network had to be shut down for a month, and Sony lost $171 million during that month.

Anthem, RSA Security, and Atomic Energy Organization of Iran

On February 2015, 78.8 million former and current customers of Anthem had their personal data compromised. In addition, on March, 2011, RSA Security personal data and the employee records of 40 million people was stolen. Stuxnet computer worm targeted SCADA systems and is believed to be responsible for causing substantial damage to Iran's nuclear program. The attack began in 2005, with the spread of the Stuxnet worm maximizing damage sometime in 2010.

VeriSign, Home Depot, and Ticketfly

VeriSign was attacked throughout the year 2010. Undisclosed information was stolen. Many people felt that VeriSign did not respond to the hacker attack in a timely manner. As for Home Depot, they were attacked on September 2014. 56 million clients had their debit and credit card data stolen. Ticketfly was attacked recently in 2018. 26 million user accounts were impacted, with phone numbers, emails, addresses, and customer names also being stolen.

Bank of Montreal, Simpli Financial, iCloud, and Adobe

In 2018 both Simpli Financial and the Bank of Montreal were attacked, with a total of 90,000 customers having their data stolen. Accounts had to be frozen to prevent further fraudulent attacks, and fraudulent transactions had to be reimbursed. iCloud experienced a leak in August of 2014. Over 500 private pictures of female celebrities were stolen and spread across many social networks. Adobe experienced its attack in October 2013. 38 million user accounts were compromised.

Best Practices to Prevent a Security Breach

Access to important and classified information should be controlled from the very beginning. Only firm based systems and devices should be used. Moreover, only the cloud should be used and wiping technology should be installed to enhance the business security systems. Wiping tech will remove firm data from personal devices without removing the personal data of the employee.

Cyberwar and Future of Cybersecurity

In sum, digital conflicts will only become more heated as time passes. The optimal security measures need to be implemented and companies need to be vigilant to protect their employees and clients from imminent cyber threats. In 2018, there are literally billions of dollars at stake, and with more and more people using the internet, the importance of proper security measures will only increase.

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