Nearly every week a fresh report breaks about a company falling victim to hackers and having its customers’ personal details leaked online.
This fact was showcased on Monday when news broke affair site Ashley Madison had fallen victim to hackers and had an undisclosed number of its customers’ personal details leaked online.
So we have collected information from the Open Security Foundation (OSF), DataLossDB initiative to rank and detail the 19 worst hacks in history.
The ranking is based on the number of customer records compromised during the incident. If the number of compromised records during a data breach were identical we ranked them by date, putting the oldest first.
We didn’t include data breaches where, for legal reasons, the company involved cannot be named.
Date reported: 03/02/13
How it happened: A company network intrusion
Evernote is a commonly used note taking service available on smartphones, tablets and PCs.
The Evernote breach saw a hacker successfully compromise over 50 million Evernote account holders' usernames, email addresses, and encrypted passwords. It led Evernote to roll out a forced password reset command to its customers.
Date reported: 04/26/13
How it happened: An attack on the company's servers
Daily-deals site LivingSocial suffered a data breach in 2013 after hackers successfully broke into its servers. Compromised data included customers' names, emails, birthdates and passwords.
Date reported: 01/12/15
How it happened: A coordinated hacking assault on government networks
Government departments in Turkey are a common target for cyber attacks. This started in 2011 when the Anonymous hacktivist collective took issue with its web surveillance and censorship laws.
However, few attacks have been as successful as a 2015 raid that saw hacker steal the identification numbers of over 50 million citizens from various state agency servers.
Date reported: 07/02/13
How it happened: Hackers broke into parts of the company website
Games company Ubisoft suffered a particularly nasty data breach in 2013 that saw criminals expose roughy 58 million customers usernames, email addresses and encrypted passwords. The attackers got access the data by hacking the company's website.
Date reported: 08/23/13
How it happened: A coding error
Unlike the previous data breaches on our list, the 2013 Pinterest breach was caused by human error.
It saw 70 million users' email addresses exposed due to a flaw in the photo sharing site's application programming interface (API) -- the bit of tech used by coders to build services.
Date reported: 4/26/11
How it happened: Hackers broke into the PlayStation Network
Sony may have been in the headlines recently for a 2014 cyber attack, believed to have stemmed from North Korea, on its entertainment division.
However, according to DatalossDB, a 2011 attack by a group of hackers known as LulzSec caused the most harm to its customers.
The attack saw the LulzSec group steal and publish online 77 million PlayStation Network and Qriocity user account details online.
Date reported: 02/4/15
How it happened: A targeted attack on its IT systems
Anthem may not be well known in Europe, but in the US it is a major health care insurer that handles sensitive data for millions of Americans every day.
Aware of this, in February hackers successfully stole information on 78.8 million current and former Anthem customers and employees.
Date reported: 07/16/08
How it happened: A bungled test for a new website design
Facebook has done a lot of good work improving its security over the last couple of years, taking key steps like encrypting its users' news feeds.
However, it's important to remember the company is very young and during its rise to fame had more than a few technical foul ups. One of the biggest occurred in 2008 when a Facebook software glitch publicly exposed 80,000,000 users' hidden information.
Date reported: 08/27/14
How it happened: A cyber attack of unknown origin
JPMorgan suffered massive data breach in 2014 when hackers used an unknown method to steal information from 76 million households and seven million small to medium sized business (SMBs).
Law enforcement officials are still investigating the breach. Earlier this week reports broke that four men the FBI arrested on suspicion of non-related cyber scams may also be connected to the JPMorgan breach.
Date reported: 06/01/84
How it happened: A stolen computer password
Despite happening over 30 years ago the TWR breach remains on the all time biggest data bungles in history.
TRW Information Systems was an American corporation that was involved in a variety of businesses, including aerospace, automotive, and credit reporting until it was acquired by Northrop Grumman in 2002.
In 1984 retro-hackers managed to use a stolen computer password to access the firm's systems and compromise the credit histories of over 90 million people.
Date reported: 01/17/07
How it happened: Hackers infiltrated its network
You may not have heard of TJX Companies, but chances are you've shopped in at least one of the store brands it owns. The firm currently owns T.K.Maxx, T.J.Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods and HomeSense.
In 2007 the firm suffered a data breach that saw a cartel of hackers infiltrate its network and steal 94 million customer credit card numbers and transaction details.
Date reported: 01/30/14
How it happened: An inside job
The Korea Credit Bureau investigation alleged the breach was caused by an IT worker who copied the names, social security numbers and credit card details of 104 million customers onto a USB stick before selling them to a marketing firm.
Date reported: 09/02/2014
How it happened: 'A never before seen malware'
The Home Depot hack exposed the details of 56 million customers' payment cards and 53 million customer email addresses.
Official details remain scarce but Home Depot claimed the hackers used a previously unseen malware to evade its security systems, in a statement published just after the incident.
Date reported: 12/18/2013
How it happened: Hackers broke into its point of sales terminals
The Target breach is believed to have occurred between 27 November and 15 December 2013. It saw hackers break into Target's systems and steal customers' credit and debit card numbers, card expiration dates and debit card PIN numbers.
In the wake of the breach former chief information officer Beth Jacob resigned from her role in the wake of a data breach in March 2014. Target chief executive Gregg Steinhafel soon followed and stepped down from his role in May 2014.
Date reported: 01/20/2009
How it happened: A malware outbreak on its payment systems
Payments service provider Heartland suffered a massive data breach in 2009 that compromised 130 million customers card details.
Worse still, during an earnings call following the breach executives revealed the malware used to steal the information was successful because Heartland did not have antivirus software installed on its payment processing network at the time.
Date reported: 05/21/2014
How it happened: Hackers used stolen employee details to break into its network
The eBay data breach is one the worst in recent memory for two reasons.
First, because the attack on its network compromised over 145 million customers' passwords, usernames, email addresses, addresses, phone numbers and dates of birth.
Second, because despite being aware of the breach since February 2014, eBay only alerted its customers in June 2014 -- a move that naturally angered some of those affected.
Date reported: 03/17/2012
How it happened: Believed to be an inside job
The Shanghai Roadway D&B Marketing Services breach is one of the oddest on the list. News of the compromise emerged when Chinese police raided the D&B Marketing Services Shanghai Roadway headquarters.
DataLossDB reported the raid stemmed from concerns members of the office 'may have illegally bought and sold customers' information' to companies involved in marketing or phone sales.
The true cause of the breach remained murky, though D&B Marketing Services has shutdown the Shanghai office.
Date reported: 10/03/2013
How it happened: Unknown
The Adobe 2013 data breach was massive. Originally spotted by security journalist Brian Krebs on October 3, 2013, the breach was so big Adobe and the security community actually struggled to figure out what information was in the initial data dump.
After weeks of research it eventually turned out, as well as the source code of several Adobe products, the hack had also exposed customer' names, IDs, passwords and debit and credit card information.
Date reported: 06/21/2014
How it happened: A bungled freedom of information request
The 2014 NYC taxi data breach resulted from a botched attempt by the commission to anonymise data it was preparing to release for a freedom of information request.
Thanks to the failed attempt to anonymise the data the NYC commission inadvertently released 20GB of data the detailed over 173 million taxi customers comings and going around the city.
The data included the pickup customers pickup and dropoff location and time and various other titbits of metadata.
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