8 Biggest Data Breaches Of All Time

Published on 12/30/2014

We are living in the advanced age of digital information and things are only going to get weirder from here. Merely a generation ago the idea that we would store all of the information in the world on some untouchable, invisible, digital interface would have been so unlikely as to be laughable. People would have thought you were crazy! That’s not the case, however. Instead, technology is advancing at an unimaginable pace and those that would exploit it are doing their best to keep up. Statistics show that we are living in the most peaceful time in human history. In fact, when was the last time you read about a bank being robbed? Not recently, we bet. Criminals are turning into cyber sleuths and their prized money bags have turned into data. The fear of a data protection breach is so prevalent among companies the world over that many would look for any data protection solution possible. Sometimes nothing helps. As you are about to read, organized hackers get the info they want when they want it. Here are the 8 biggest data breaches of all time.

Target Stores – 2013

We are sure that there is a joke here about how Target made themselves an easy bit of prey for hackers, but we won’t go there. Instead we will talk about how in December of 2013 a group of dedicated hackers made off with over 40 million different debit and credit card numbers. These numbers had been in use at Target facilities all over the country right after Thanksgiving. It took awhile for Target to make a confirmation but eventually they went public with the information that they had. Yes, hackers had managed to infect the card readers sitting at every check out. Yes, your card information was at risk. In January of 2014 things got even worse. Target released a report stating that over 70 million customers had seen their personal information compromised. That personal info included: full names, addresses, phone numbers, and even email accounts. Some reports show a total of 110 million customers being affected by this breach. Truly frightening.

Sony Online – 2011

You may recognize Sony for their work in the personal entertainment industry. Their gaming console, the Playstation, has been integral to the advancement of home entertainment as we know it for the past couple of decades. Users who own a Playstation also have access to Sony’s version of the ‘video game internet’, called Sony Online. Here customers can meet with their friends, share gaming experiences, and do, pretty much, whatever they want. This hub made for the perfect data breach target. Hackers made their way into the private areas of Sony Online before making off with almost 80 million accounts of private user information. Members of Sony Online’s Playstation Network saw their logins, phone numbers, addresses, emails, and real names all exposed to the hackers. Alongside this account breach there were also over 23,000 European users that saw their credit card data lifted. After this disastrous breach Sony essentially turned off the Playstation Network for a period of three weeks. Cleaning up the the aftermath of the breach, as well as handling all of the 65 class action lawsuits that were levied against them, made this data breach cost $171 million dollars. Not a good period for Sony. We would not be surprised to hear that Sony started shopping immediately for better data breach insurance.