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Tracking Hacking: The World’s Biggest Data Breaches

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Each circle corresponds to the number of records lost per data breach. (Also: interactive version here)
History of Data Breaches

Tracking Hacking: The World’s Biggest Data Breaches

This data visualization comes to us from Information is Beautiful. Go to their site to see the highly-recommended interactive format that visualizes the same data, while providing additional details on each specific hack.

The graphic above shows a timeline of some of the biggest data breaches on record. Each bubble represents the number of records lost in any given breach, with the most sensitive data clustered toward the right side.

Before 2009, the majority of data breaches were the fault of human errors like misplaced hard drives and stolen laptops, or the efforts of “inside men” looking to make a profit by selling data to the highest bidder. Since then, the volume of malicious hacking (shown in purple) has exploded relative to other forms of data loss.

From Millions to Billions

Increasingly sophisticated hacking has altered the scale of data loss by orders of magnitude. For example, an “inside job” breach at data broker Court Ventures was once one of the world’s largest single losses of records at 200 million.

However, it was eclipsed in size shortly thereafter by malicious hacks at Yahoo in 2013 and 2014 that compromised over 1.5 billion records, and now larger hacks are increasingly becoming the norm.

Small But Powerful

The problems caused by hacks, leaks and other data breaches are not just ones of scale. For example, the accidental 2016 leak of information from spam/email marketing service River City Media stands out at an alarming 1.37 billion records lost. However, sorting by data sensitivity paints a different picture. The River City leak – represented by the larger blue dot below – is surpassed in severity by hacks at Yahoo, at web design platform Weebly, and even at adult video provider Brazzers.

Data Breaches Ranked by Severity

Much of the data lost in the River City hack was made up of long lists of consumer email addresses to be used for spam email distribution, while the other hacks listed compromised items like account passwords, banking information, addresses, phone numbers, or health records. While having your email address become the target for spam exploitation is a serious annoyance, the hacking of much more sensitive personal data has quickly become the norm.

The fact that more and more of our data is being stored “in the cloud” and among devices on the Internet of Things means that increasingly sensitive types of data are now more vulnerable than ever to being hacked. This looks to be even more cause for concern than the rapidly rising volume of records that have been exposed, whether intentionally or by accident.

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Maps

Wired World: 35 Years of Submarine Cables in One Map

Watch the explosive growth of the global submarine cable network, and learn who’s funding the next generation of cables.

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submarine cable network

You could be reading this article from nearly anywhere in the world and there’s a good chance it loaded in mere seconds.

Long gone are the days when images would load pixel row by pixel row. Now, even high-quality video is instantly accessible from almost everywhere. How did the internet get so fast? Because it’s moving at the speed of light.

The Information Superhighway

The miracle of modern fiber optics can be traced to a single man, Narinder Singh Kapany. The young physicist was skeptical when his professors asserted that light ‘always travels in a straight line’. His explorations into the behavior of light eventually led to the creation of fiber optics—essentially, beaming light through a thin glass tube.

The next step to using fiber optics as a means of communication was lowering the cable’s attenuation rate. Throughout the 1960-70s, companies made gains in manufacturing, reducing the number of impurities and allowing light to cross great distances without a dramatic decrease in signal intensity.

By the mid-1980s, long distance fiber optic cables had finally reached the feasibility stage.

Crossing the Pond

The first intercontinental fiber optic cable was strung across the floor of the Atlantic Ocean in 1988. The cable—known as TAT-8*—was spearheaded by three companies; AT&T, France Télécom, and British Telecom. The cable was able to carry the equivalent of 40,000 telephone channels, a ten-fold increase over its galvanic predecessor, TAT-7.

Once the kinks of the new cable were worked out, the floodgates were open. During the course of the 1990s, many more cables hit the ocean floor. By the dawn of the new millennium, every populated continent on Earth was connected by fiber optic cables. The physical network of the internet was beginning to take shape.

As today’s video from ESRI shows, the early 2000s saw a boom in undersea cable development, reflecting the uptick in internet usage around globe. In 2001 alone, eight new cables connected North America and Europe.

From 2016-2020, over 100 new cables were laid with an estimated value of $14 billion. Now, even the most remote Polynesian islands have access to high-speed internet thanks to undersea cables.

*TAT-8 does not appear in the video above as it was retired in 2002.

The Shifting Nature of Cable Construction

Even though nearly every corner of the globe is now physically connected, the rate of cable construction is not slowing down.

This is due to the increasing capacity of new cables and our appetite for high-quality video content. New cables are so efficient that the majority of potential capacity along major cable routes will come from cables that are less than five years old.

Traditionally, a consortium of telecom companies or governments would fund cable construction, but tech companies are increasingly funding their own submarine cable networks.

tech company submarine cables

Source

Amazon, Microsoft and Google own close to 65% market share in cloud data storage, so it’s understandable that they’d want to control the physical means of transporting that data as well.

These three companies now own 63,605 miles of submarine cable. While laying cable is a costly endeavor, it’s necessary to meet surging demand—content providers’ share of data transmission skyrocketed from around 8% to nearly 40% over the past decade.

A Bright Future for Dark Fiber

At the same time, more aging cables will be taken offline. Even though signals are no longer traveling through this network of “dark fiber”, it’s still being put to productive use. It turns out that undersea telecom cables make a very effective seismic network, helping researchers study offshore earthquakes and the geologic structures on the ocean floor.

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Markets

The World’s 25 Most Successful Media Franchises, and How They Stay Relevant

This infographic ranks the most successful media franchises of all time, and explores how they innovate to stay relevant.

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The World’s 25 Most Successful Media Franchises, and How They Stay Relevant

Great stories come and go, but there are a certain few that can truly stand the test of time.

Tugging on the heartstrings with nostalgic stories can be a powerful tool. Yet, even the most world-renowned storytellers like Disney face pressure to constantly innovate.

Today’s infographic from TitleMax illustrates the highest-grossing media franchises, and dives into how they generate their revenue and adapt to new mediums in changing times.

The Supreme Storytellers

According to the infographic, the majority of franchise revenue comes from merchandising. Video games, comic books, and Japanese manga are also significant drivers of income.

Rank
FranchiseYear CreatedRevenue (USD)Main Revenue Source
#1Pokémon1996$92BMerchandise
#2Hello Kitty1974$80BMerchandise
#3Winnie the Pooh1924$75BMerchandise
#4Mickey Mouse1928$70BMerchandise
#5Star Wars1977$66BMerchandise
#6Anpanman1973$60BMerchandise
#7Disney Princesses2000$45BMerchandise
#8Mario1981$36BVideo Games
#9Jump Comics1968$34BComics and Manga
#10Harry Potter1997$31BBox Office
#11Marvel Cinematic Universe2008$29BBox Office
#12Spiderman1962$27BMerchandise
#13Gudam1979$26BMerchandise
#14Batman1939$26BMerchandise
#15Dragonball1984$24BComic and Manga
#16Barbie1959$24BMerchandise
#17Fist of The North Star1983$22BVideo Games
#18Cars2006$22BMerchandise
#19Toy Story1995$20BMerchandise
#20One Piece1997$20BComics and Manga
#21Lord of The Rings1937$20BBook Sales
#22James Bond1953$20BBox Office
#23Yu-Gi-Oh1996$20BTrading Cards
#24Peanuts1950$17BMerchandise
#25Transformers1984$17BMerchandise

Perhaps surprisingly, Marvel is not included in the top 10. Despite nearly $30 billion revenue and a long history rooted in comic books, the entertainment behemoth still has much ground to cover as the newest franchise in the ranking.

Reinventing a Classic

While the list proves that success builds over time, these classics need to constantly reinvent themselves as their audiences become reliant on new technologies and demand more immersive experiences.

Pokémon

As the highest grossing media franchise earning roughly $4 billion a year, Pokémon’s strength lies in it ability to adapt to new technology.

The Japanese phenomenon has continued to reposition itself since it first introduced Pokémon cards in 1996. These days, the franchise is perhaps best known for bringing augmented reality to the masses with Pokémon Go—an app that attracted 50 million users in just 19 days.

Hello Kitty

Yet another Japanese brand tops the list of media franchises. With 50,000 product lines available in over 130 countries and cumulative revenue of $80 billion, Hello Kitty is famous for harnessing the power of cute.

The fictional character has evolved into a globally recognized symbol as a result of big name partnerships and licensing deals with the likes of Puma, Asos and Herschel—and is etched onto almost every type of accessory thinkable.

More recently, the brand announced its foray into video games, and will collaborate with the global esports organization FNATIC on content and merchandise.

Winnie the Pooh

The chronicles of Winnie the Pooh have transcended time by providing a connection to the innate wonder of childhood.

Originally created following World War I, the newest movie rendition “Christopher Robin” became the highest-grossing film in the franchise, grossing $197 million worldwide.

Mickey Mouse

With 97% brand name recognition, Mickey Mouse is officially more recognizable than Santa Claus. Similarly to Winnie the Pooh, Disney introduced Mickey Mouse as a symbol of hope following the World War.

Over 90 years later, global brands such as L’oreal, Beats, Uniqlo and more recently, Gucci are paying homage. In 2019, the luxury fashion brand licensed the Mickey Mouse image for a 3D printed bag worth $4,500, making it even more of a ubiquitous symbol of pop culture.

Star Wars

Another Disney favorite, Star Wars holds the title of most successful movie franchise, with cumulative revenues of $65 billion.

The franchise successfully appeals to a multi-generational audience by mixing old characters with new storylines, such as ‘The Mandalorian’, broadcasting on the new streaming service Disney+—hailed as one of the more exciting moves to come from the saga.

Making Magic

Disney owns three out of the top five highest grossing franchises, so it comes as no surprise that the media conglomerate is investing heavily in digital innovation to provide a more immersive customer experience.

In fact, every franchise in the ranking relies on multiple touchpoints and revenue streams to create a more interactive and emotional experience for their audience.

By harnessing a compelling combination of both imagination and technology, Disney and other top global franchises can continue to lead in the business of making magic.

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