As more and more of our data is stored online, we are increasingly susceptible to data breaches that can do major damage. Breaches can occur due to a variety of methods, including hacks, configuration errors, leaks, accidental publishing, lost and stolen hardware, and poor security. Businesses and agencies of all shapes and sizes have suffered attacks, and the hackers behind them are often hunting for financial or other gains.
A fantastic interactive infographic from Information is Beautiful shows the scope and timeline of these attacks, and it’s a bit shocking just how often they happen. You can find the infographic at http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/worlds-biggest-data-breaches-hacks/.
A few of the most impacted industries are the financial sector, healthcare, government, retail, and web. Here is a synopsis of some breaches that have made headlines.
JP Morgan Chase
In the summer of 2014, the US’s largest bank was compromised by hackers who stole the names, addresses, phone numbers, and emails of account holders. 76 million households and 7 million small businesses were affected at a time when consumer confidence in the digital data operations of corporate America was already in doubt. The hack began in June but was not covered until July, when hackers had already made their way into the highest levels of administrative privilege within the bank’s servers.
In February 2015, the massive health insurance company was hacked and members’ info including names, dates of birth, member IDs, social security numbers, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses were compromised. An estimated 80 million accounts were affected, but medical histories were not thought to have been breached.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
In February and May of 2015, a sophisticated organized crime syndicate used the IRS website to steal tax forms from hundreds of thousands of Americans. They got away with about 100,000 and used 15,000 of those to claim tax refunds in other people’s names. The info they stole can also be used to open bank accounts and credit lines, as well as steal tax refunds in the future.
The retail giant suffered a massive credit card breach, originally reported in December 2013, in which as many as 70 million individuals were affected when their names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses were stolen. Another 40 million account holders had credit and debit card numbers, expiration dates, CVV security codes, and even PIN data stolen. It was reported Target could be liable for up to $3.6 billion due to the attack, on top of the loss of consumer confidence.
In late 2014, a copy of user account information was stolen from the company’s network from what it believes is a state-sponsored actor. Data stolen includes names, email addresses, phone numbers, birthdays, passwords, and security answers. Yahoo said it thought at least 500 million user account credentials were breached, which would make it the biggest breach of all time, surpassing a Myspace breach where 360 million user accounts and 427 million passwords were stolen.
For more information on these breaches and many, many more, check out the gorgeous infographic at http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/worlds-biggest-data-breaches-hacks/.