Almost 153 million users of Adobe Inc. faced the backlash of a data breach in 2013, and the tech world has never been the same. Data breaches are a common occurrence in the tech world, and they can cost a hefty amount of fortune to any company that suffers one. Breaches are said to affect hundreds of millions and even billions of people around the world who entrust different companies with their personal information for miscellaneous purposes.
Retrieving data that has been stolen for malicious reasons or has been compromised still continues to be one of the toughest works. A major IT threat faced by companies in all business sectors is losing the company’s data, and protection against data breaches plays a very important role in building a healthy future of the company. Many organizations in the past have fallen prey to data breaches due to unprotected or exposed data, creating major risks in business that have not been overcome.
With the way the world functions these days, where the internet has more power than its users, it is the foremost duty of the company to closely protect its data by installing the best antivirus for Windows, MAC, or whichever system they and their employees are using. And this is but the first step of many that companies must take to ensure complete online security.
The 21st century has seen data breaches which created a state of shock in the tech world. Here are six data breaches in recent history that could have been avoided with a little more precaution:
- Adobe Inc – In October 2013, Adobe Inc. suffered a data breach that affected 153 million user records. Hours after the breach, Adobe stated that the hackers had stolen almost 3 million encrypted customer credit card records and the login data of 38 million “active” user accounts. Later on, the hack also revealed the names, customer Ids, passwords, and credit and debit card credentials of innumerable account holders. In 2015, Adobe Inc. had to pay $1.1 million as legal fees for violating the Customer Records Acts.
- eBay – eBay reported a supposed hack of their internal data storage exposing entire list names, addresses, passwords, and dates of birth of 145 million users in May 2014. The company said to the press that hackers had used the credentials of three of their employees to get access to the breached data. The hackers had access to this for 229 days. Thankfully, information related to the credit card details of the customers was stored separately and was not compromised. The company had to face a huge customer backlash due to weak operating systems and poor protection against data breaches.
- Yahoo – 3 billion user accounts were compromised when Yahoo suffered a security breach in 2014. In 2016, the company stated that it had been exposed to what could have been the biggest data breach in the history of technology. Yahoo also said that it believed that the masterminds behind this attack were “state-sponsored.” The attackers had gotten access to real names, email addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, and residential addresses of over 5000 million users at their very first attempt. Later on, in the same year, Yahoo revealed that a breach in 2013 had exposed the names, dates of birth, email addresses, and passwords of 1 billion accounts. Although the attackers were different, in 2017, Yahoo estimated that a total of almost 3 billion user accounts underwent data breaches in 2013 and 2014. Yahoo lost almost $350 million as a result of these breaches.
- Dubsmash – In December 2018, online video-messaging app Dubsmash based out of New York, reported having suffered a data breach that affected 162 million user accounts. As a result, the usernames, email addresses, passwords hashes, and other personal data such as videos, etc., had been stolen. Later on, all these data had been listed for sale on ‘Dream Market’, a web market that functions within the dark web and can only be accessed through Tor. However, Dubsmash could not provide a legitimate reason as to why this breach of data occurred in the first place.
- LinkedIn – LinkedIn suffered two data breaches. One in 2012, followed by another in 2016. The breaches affected 165 million user accounts. The attackers conducted a social engineering attack on this business/social media site. 6.5 million passwords were stolen by hackers in 2012. These passwords were then posted on a Russian hacker’s forum. In 2016, the real number (165 million) of affected user accounts was revealed. The hacker was selling these passwords for 5 bitcoins (value up to $2,000 in 2016) each.
- Marriott International – This is probably the biggest breach in the history of breaches that went unnoticed for four years. In 2014, Marriott International suffered a data breach of 500 million customers where the attackers traced the contact information, passport number, guest number, travel information, and other personal information. The credit card numbers and the expiration dates of more than 100 million customers had also been breached in the same attack. Marriott International discovered the breach in 2018. According to NY Times, the breach was conducted by a Chinese intelligence group trying to fetch information on US citizens.
The internet can be unsafe to both users and service providers in a range of ways. Being careful is the ultimate key while using the internet. As for data breaches, it always depends on the amount of importance given and investment made by the company in order to keep its data secure.
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