The Largest Hacks and Data Breaches in World History

The Largest Hacks and Data Breaches in World History

The Largest Hacks and Data Breaches in World History

View the awesome interactive version of this infographic at Information is Beautiful.

There has always been a fascination with the hacker – it is because the information era gives one person acting alone the capability to breach the security of the biggest corporations, banks, governments, or even celebrities. Movies such as War Games and Hackers brought the hacker to pop culture as far back as 1983, but we haven’t heard too much about hackers and the theft of data in the news until more recently.

It was finally in 2004 that it was brought to the forefront. A former America Online software engineer stole 92 million screen names and email addresses and sold them to spammers. This led to 7 billion unsolicited emails. However, data theft and hacks would continue to get much more frequent, and much more malevolent. Even stalwarts such as the US Military, AT&T, Ebay, Adobe, and Target would be affected.

Within the last year, a string of high profile cases have made waves. The Sony Pictures hack took over 100 terabytes of data, including unreleased films and scripts, sensitive business documents and emails, and social security numbers. Before that, malware installed on cash register systems across 2,200 Home Depot stores syphoned credit card details of up to 56 million customers. Even America’s biggest banks are not hack proof – criminals gained highest level administrative access to JP Morgan Chase’s most sensitive servers, and stole account information such as email addresses, phone numbers, names, and more.

The above infographic is accurate up to early February with the biggest hacks and breaches (by # of records stolen).


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