Five Of The Biggest Data Breaches Of All Time

Data Breaches - Sony Pictures - Retail Secure

We all know that security breaches can be extremely damaging, but the true extent of the damage is something we often overlook. Not only can such scenarios destroy reputations and lead to extortionate fines and losses but also a frightening number of businesses have had to close over the years because of a lack of sufficient cyber security. Keeping that in mind, in this post we are going to take a look at some of the biggest data breaches of all time.

Sony Pictures Entrainment – There is only one place to begin, and this is with last year’s Sony Pictures Entertainment data breach. A group, called ‘Guardians of Peace’ took over the company’s system and started sharing gigabytes of internal data such as marketing plans, unpublished scripts, internal passwords, scanned passports belonging to executives and actors, Social Security numbers, legal information, financial data and even four full movies that were yet to be released. It is believed that approximately 50,000 people were at risk of identity threat. The Guardians of Peace are yet to be identified with some rumours blaming North Korea for the attack.

Home Depot – Last year, 56 million payment cards were compromised, as point of sale systems were infected with malware that was thought to be antivirus software. Instead, the cyber criminals stole customer debit and credit card details. It is believed that this theft could possibly be the biggest haul of payment cards resulting from a direct attack on a retailer.

CardSystems Solutions – In June 2005, 40 million credit card accounts were exposed in an attack launched on CardSystems Solutions, which is one of the leading payment processors for American Express, MasterCard and Visa. The company did not encrypt the personal information of their users, which have cyber criminals a route into their system, which they exploited by using an SQL Trojan attack

Heartland Payment Systems – This was the biggest data breach to ever impact an American business, with more than 130 million records compromised. The incident took place in 2009 when malware was planted onto the company’s network. It recorded card data from retailers, and when you consider the fact that Heartland processes payments for an excess of 250,000 businesses, you can see how damaging this was. A year later, Albert Gonzalez was convicted of the breach and received a sentence of 20 years in prison.

Sony’s PlayStation Network – Sony gets a mention again, but this time it was their PlayStation network that was hacked, with 77 million accounts compromised in 2011. This viewed as the worst data breach in the gaming community of all time. The source of the hack remains unknown but they gained access to full names, credit card numbers, purchase history, home addresses, passwords, emails and PSN/Qriocity logins and passwords. The company’s site was down for a month, and they are said to have lost millions.