What can we learn from some of the biggest data breaches in history?

Data breaches are one of the most common news pegs when it comes to cyber crime. A data breach, whether that includes personal details or important information pertaining to a company or organisation, happens when sensitive records are leaked to an agency or person who wouldn’t have had access otherwise. These leaks can be the result of simple human error or malicious intent, through the use of phishing scams or malware, and can have huge repercussions on millions of users.

Some of the biggest data breaches in history come from recognisable household names, such as eBay and Yahoo, showing that any company is fair game to cyber criminals. The first, most notable major data breach can be traced back to 1984 when credit reporting agency TRW Information Systems saw that an unsecured database had been stolen and posted on the early internet. The personal details and credit card histories of 90 million Americans were there for the world to see, all down to a single stolen password.

In more recent history, we can look at the impact of most leaks transpiring from 2005 onwards as our collective use of the internet to live, work, and play has become more and more prolific. The importance of ensuring your security wall is up to scratch has never been clearer than when we look at Yahoo’s massive data breach back in 2013. Now noted as one of the largest security breaches in history, over 3 billion user accounts were compromised by malicious hackers, who were able to gain access to sensitive information such as email addresses, telephone numbers, social security details, medical records, and even mailing addresses. Unencrypted security questions and user records were also leaked by the criminals, though Yahoo’s investigation into the breach indicated that payment card and bank account details remained secure.

Phishing is one of the most common types of scams that hackers use to get individual records, bank details and personal information. But when it happens on a large scale, such as the Sony PlayStation Network breach in 2011, the costs can be huge.

Various details and information belonging to roughly 77 million active users were obtained by hackers through the company’s server, but it was later suspected that access was granted by accident – likely by a system administrator who fell foul to a phishing scam. Despite the immediate shutdown of the network, Sony still lost an estimated $171 million due to breach costs, alongside the loss of user data including real names, dates of birth, and user passwords.

As technology advances and companies attempt to beef up their security to keep up with the huge amounts of user data being processed daily, it’s important to have support on stand by which is why if your looking for a IT support company in Manchesteror around the UK it would be a good idea to go ahead with hiring on. Although there are recommended safety guidelines and suggested security standards that companies are expected to meet, weak spots in this net will always come to light. No matter how big you are, it’s clear that everyone and anyone is at risk of a possible data breach.

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