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The dust is still settling on the Facebook / Cambridge Analytica data harvesting story. Businesses across Europe and beyond are bracing themselves for the 25 May GDPR D-Day. So we thought we’d have a little wander down Data Loss Memory Lane and remind ourselves that when it comes to stories of data being misused or misappropriated, there’s precious little new under the sun. Someone once said there are two kinds of business – those who’ve suffered a data loss and those who haven’t… yet. Don’t lose sleep. But don’t assume it couldn’t possibly happen to you.
Uber was the victim of a cyber attack that resulted in 57,000,000 driver and passenger details being compromised in 2016. Although it didn’t come to light until November 2017. Personal data including names, email addresses, and phone numbers were scooped up by the attackers. Uber concealed the attack and paid hackers $100,000 in an attempt to keep it hidden.
In 2012, hackers got their hands on the login details of someone working at Dropbox. Initially, the company disclosed details of the attack and said some customer email addresses had been compromised. But in 2016, 68 million Dropbox customer details were posted online, including email addresses and passwords – confirming the attack was more serious that had been thought initially.
In 2013, Tumblr suffered a data breach that it didn’t actually disclose until 2016. In all, 65 million account holders were believed to have been affected, with email addresses and passwords involved. Although the details ended up for sale on the internet, the passwords had been hashed and salted, which is nothing to do with cooking, and everything to do with making things harder to hack.
In 2016, Yahoo, announced it had been the victim of data breaches in 2013 and 2014 that affected 500 million users. However, by 2017 it had revised that number to include its entire user base – an eye-popping 3 billion accounts. Names, dates of birth, email addresses and passwords (some protected, some not), security questions and answers were involved.
5) Sony PlayStation Network
In 2011, the Sony PlayStation Network was hacked. More than 77 million PlayStation user accounts were caught up, 12 million of which had unencrypted credit card numbers. Full names, passwords, emails, home addresses, and purchase histories were also compromised. In 2014, Sony agreed to a $15 million settlement in a class action lawsuit relating to the breach.
In 2012, LinkedIn was hacked – 6.5 million accounts were compromised, with passwords obtained by the hackers, believed to be Russian. In 2016 (anyone else noticing a four-year pattern here..?) another 100 million accounts were found to have been affected. The FBI was brought into to investigate the hack, and a suspect was detained in Prague by Czech police.
7) The US government, well most of it
According to the 2018 Thales Data Threat Report (Federal Edition) 57% of US federal government offices respondents experienced a data breach last year. That’s a big step up from the 2017 figure of 34% of breached, and 18% in 2016. By contrast, 26% of non-US government agencies worldwide experienced a breach this past year, Thales said.