Data Everywhere: See the impact of the largest data breaches of the last 5 years

By James Mowery

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Facebook recently experienced yet another data breach that exposed records of some 50,000 people. That seems to be the motif of the last few years in terms of online security. The number of data breaches both in the United States and around the world has increased over the last 4 years.

Data breaches are all too common in 2018. It seems like every other day there’s an article published in the news regarding a new data breach. The “disturbing” trend continues upwards this year.

The United States is the most targeted country in the world as the victim of cyber attacks, which makes sense. Personal data isn’t difficult to find any more especially with the increase in technological advances throughout the years. And it isn’t difficult to acquire especially if the security protocols for the website aren’t sound.

For instance, popular websites like Popsugar have been compromised. In this particular case, the resulting data breach affected 123,857 records through simple hacking. That isn’t the same case with all data breaches, though.

Here are the biggest and some of the most impactful data breaches in the 21st century within the most-targeted country in the world.

data breaches

Image courtesy of Apcela 

1. Yahoo!

When Yahoo! explored the data breaches in 2016, it became clear the two data breaches that were executed by hackers in 2013 and again in 2014 compromised an incredible amount of personal data. Billions of users’ records were exposed.

It’s unclear the reason for the attacks or the motivation of the hackers however

2. Friend Finder

Friend Finder isn’t as innocent as it sounds – neither the site nor the data breach that compromised 412,214,295 records during the 2016 data breach. The FriendFinder network includes a handful of adult sites – with most of the records breached from adultfriendfinder.com.

3. Myspace

While this site isn’t mentioned much anymore, it was the target of a large data breach in 2013 – but we only found out about it two years ago in 2016. A flaw in the social site’s security made it possible for hackers to slip on in and take over any account. Unlike the Equifax data breach perpetrated by a malicious outsider, this data breach only revealed account access.

4. Deep Root

The data breach that leaked U.S. voter records was an accidental loss. Data was stored in a publicly accessible cloud server which enabled others to find the information pretty easily. 198,000,000 voters’ data was exposed during the breach in 2016, even though the breach was reported in 2017.  

Unfortunately, this is the largest voter record leak ever in the United States.

5. Adobe

At least 38,000,000 people were affected by the data breach occuring in 2013. Encrypted passwords were exposed, leaving more than 152,000,000 users vulnerable. This is one of the strongest examples of financial theft of credit card information.

6. Equifax

The consumer credit reporting agency collects seriously personal information. Often a target for identity theft, financial records are incredibly important to the overall health of a person’s identity. Meaning: if someone takes your financial information, good luck.

Their poor security is the reason for this attack. 147,900,000 records were compromised by a malicious outsider.

Cyber security is important. Change your passwords, protect your identity, and be very careful where you share your information online.

About James Mowery
James Mowery is a passionate technology journalist, entrepreneur, and Apple enthusiast who has written for various top-tier publications like Mashable, Techi, and CMSWire. Follow him on Twitter: @JMowery.

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