When you hear the term “data breach,” what comes to mind? Probably recent events like the credit card problems at Global Payments or PlayStation’s breach of end user accounts. And while these are certainly nothing to scoff at, they certainly weren’t as bad as they could have been. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the largest data breaches of all time.
1. Heartland Payment Systems
This company lost 130 million payment records to a hacker in January of 2008. The record contained all the info contained on the magnetic strips on the back of credit cards, which allowed the thieves to create counterfeits. The guy behind the scheme was caught a year later, but the damage had been done.
2. TJX Companies Inc.
You might know this company better by its retail brand discount stores such as TJ Maxx, Home Goods, and Marshalls. When they were hacked in January of 2007 the records of 94 million transactions were lost.
The now defunct TRW used to be a credit reporting service, which means they had access to an unprecedented amount of information in regards to their customers. Their 1984 breach by a hacker left just over 90 million users information at risk.
You knew that they had to be somewhere on the list. Not too long ago, the company’s data breach risked the personal data of about 77 million gamers worldwide. That is not to be confused with the March 2011 breach where 25 million users’ data was hacked. Make you think twice about gaming with Sony?
5. Card Systems
This mobile and business side payments processor had the data of 40 million end users snatched away by a hacker in June of 2005. It occurred through a SQL injection attack.
6. RockYou Inc.
RockYou is the maker of social games such as Zoo World and Galactic Allies. When their servers were breached in December of 2009 the data of 32 million users was taken.
7. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs
The US government has the dubious honor of being the only organization on this list that did not have their data taken by a hacker. Instead the data of 26 million people was lost when an employee’s laptop was stolen. That counts for something, right?
There you have it, the seven largest breaches of personal data so far. If you know of a contender that you think should be on the list, or if you have had a personal experience with one of these data breaches, please feel free to drop us a comment!
If you find this article interesting you also may want to check out this blog article “The 5 Most Infamous Hackers of All Time”