The Year of the Data Breach
Written by Alex Bach
Many could very easily describe 2013 as the Year of the Data Breach–if it weren’t for the fact that 2014 and subsequent years will be chock full of the same. While data breaches have been going on for years, 2013 gave us the earth-shattering vista of how truly vast some of the data breaches can be.
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The Biggest–Or Boldest–Data Breaches of 2013:
Target was easily the most massive data breach of 2013 and put data breaches in general on the map. Financial info for more than 110 million–that’s right, million!–customers was compromised during 2013’s holiday shopping season. A malware originating from Russia infiltrated the retailers point-of-sale terminals and filched the information from just about every card swiped. Some even stole customer’s PIN numbers.
Shortly after the Target data breach it was revealed to the general public that Neiman Marcus had suffered a breach from the same malware as the Target breach. The breach occurred from July of 2013 to October of 2013 and effected about 1.1 million customers–which is tremendous yet seems dwarfed by the Target scandal.
The popular Groupon competitor that offers deals on just about anything you can name found itself hacked in 2013. “Unauthorized access” led to hackers compromising more that 50 million accounts. The hackers gained access and stole names, addresses, passwords and DOBs–pretty much everything you’d need for an entry level identity theft.
Just before the start of 2014, social networking app Snapchat suffered a mega data breach, exposing the email addresses and phone numbers of some 4 million users. What’s more, the app company was warned several times in advance that their security needed to be updated and they were vulnerable to an attack. The company did nothing, and (whether of suspicious divination or not) the app was hacked.
The Federal Reserve:
One of the lesser known data breaches of 2013 occurred in the servers of the Federal Reserve. Hacking group Anonymous stole 4,000 bank executives’ names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses and posted them online.