Let’s face it, the issue of cyber security has become more relevant than ever. More and more, there are reports of major data breaches from national brands, putting millions of consumers information at risk.
Data breaches are more common than you may think. In 2016, the number of reported data breaches totaled more than 1,000, which is a 40% jump up from 2015. Some of these include smaller scale breaches that we never hear about, but the breaches that do make headlines are major breaches that have an enduring effect on millions of people as well as the company suffering the breach. Here is a look at some of the worst data breaches to rock the country and the fallout from them.
- Sony: 102 million
In 2011, Sony’s PlayStation Network, which deals with their gaming consoles, PC games, and video and music streaming services, was attacked. Names, addresses, phone numbers, as well as credit card data were exposed. It is estimated that Sony has lost $171 million in cleanup costs since.
- Target: 110 million
Target customers were targeted in this holiday hack. Approximately 110 million credit and debit cards used at Target during the time of the hack were compromised. Following this hack, Target saw a significant drop in sales, leading the corporation to lay off hundreds of employees.
- Heartland Payment Systems: 130 million
Heartland Payments Systems manages payments for more than 250,000 companies across the country, so when they were hacked, the impact was huge. More than 130 million credit and debit cards were released online. Heartland paid $41.4 million in settlement claims.
- eBay: 145 million
eBay’s breach compromised names, email addresses, addresses, phone numbers, and dates of birth. Luckily, Paypal, the eBay owned payment service, was not affected by this breach. eBay stocks fell sharply following the breach.
- Massive American business hack: 160 million
From 2005 to 2012, a hacking ring targeted multiple American companies and stole more than 160 million credit and debit card numbers. Affected companies and corporations included 7-Eleven and Nasdaq.
- LinkedIn: 165 million
Unlike Yahoo, LinkedIn disclosed its data breach as soon as it happened in 2012, but in 2016, it was revealed that the number of affected user accounts estimated around 165 million, a far cry from the 6.5 million LinkedIn initially quoted.
- Court Ventures: 200 million
This company, which is owned by data brokerage firm Experian, was hacked in 2011. The hacker made off with Social Security numbers, credit card and bank account information, which they then sold to an identity theft service.
- Myspace: 360 million
Myspace may no longer be relevant, but the data archived on the site still exists . A large set of Myspace usernames and passwords were put up for sale on a hacker forum. The hack is attributed to Russian cyberhacker “Pace,” who was also responsible for the LinkedIn and Tumblr hacks.
- FriendFinder Network: 412 million
Adult website Ashley Madison made headlines in 2015 when 33 million user accounts were released. FriendFinder.com, another popular adult dating site, was hacked and exposed data of millions of users as well as records from companies owned by FriendFinder Network.
- Yahoo: 500 million
With not one, but two breaches in 2013 and 2014 respectively, Yahoo has the dubious honor of topping this list. An estimated 500 million accounts were affected, which includes names, email addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, and answers to security questions. However, the worst part of this breach is not the sheer number of affected accounts but the fact that Yahoo failed to disclose this breach until two years after the fact. This breach affected Verizon’s plans to acquire Yahoo—the offer price was lowered by $350 million.