CyberBust12 Worst Data Breaches In History

12 Worst Data Breaches In History

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In this post, we will show you the worst data breaches in history to date. 

In recent years, there has been a surge in data breaches among organizations. As data becomes more valuable than ever, hackers are constantly looking for ways to steal it. Because of this, there has been an increase in data breaches. However, not all of them are as serious as others.

Some of them are relatively minor, while others are massive breaches that pose a serious threat to society. To help you keep track of the data breaches in history, we’ll be discussing the worst breaches in history.

Most internet organizations face data breaches once in their history; the rate of cyber-crime and threats increases every day, making individuals lose confidence in keeping their details on the internet. In this age, even our personal information or private documents that are stored online can be breached by cybercriminals.

Because of this, our private information is vulnerable to cyber threats. However, in this article, we will be showing some of the data infringements that have happened in recent years. We have listed them below from the oldest to the latest.

Worst Data Breaches In History

  1. Heartland Payment Systems

The Heartland payment system is an old company that processes and takes care of about a hundred million credit and debit card transactions every month. They processed these transactions for more than one hundred and seventy-five thousand clients. 

Unfortunately, in 2008, cybercriminals, also known as hackers, broke into the credit card computer processor. This leads to the loss of money owned by individuals and companies. 

According to CNN, Heartland payment systems were required to settle these companies with over one hundred and ten million dollars. 

  1. Sony

Sony is one of the leading gaming console and movie industries in the present world today. However, in 2011, Sony suffered a data breach from cybercriminals.

These hackers were said to have compromised the accounts of over seventy-seven million users who possessed a gaming console. This gave hackers the personal details of those users. It was a very severe case for Sony that year. 

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  1. Target

Target shopping was one of those online stores that was used for shopping. During the Thanksgiving holiday spree in 2013, cybercriminals breached the company, compromising over forty million debit and credit cards.

The hackers gained access to customers’ card numbers, CVVs, and even expiration dates. With this secret information, hackers can create a clone of that debit or credit card. In 2015, Target paid ten million dollars to customers who were affected by the breach. 

Worst Data Breaches In History

  1. Yahoo

One of the leading email sites in history, Yahoo didn’t only offer email services but also news and so on.

However, this leading mail site had a terrible data violation in history, losing about three billion email accounts, which were compromised in 2013. This information was kept hidden until 2017. Unfortunately, the breach affected Yahoo’s selling price. 

  1. eBay

eBay is a site similar to Amazon in terms of services rendered. In 2014, around May, eBay had an enormous data breach.

It was reported that the cybercriminals gained access to over one hundred and forty-five million customers’ names, passwords, email addresses, and phone numbers after the hacking process.

However, the eBay security team fought back, leaving the hackers with that information alone. eBay thereby advised all customers to change their passwords because of the breach.

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  1. Home Depot

In 2014, from April to September, customers who acquired goods from Home Depot using their self-checkout facility and paid with their credit cards did not know the company would be hacked later that month.

When the data breach happened, it affected over fifty million Home Depot customers who used credit cards at the self-checkout stations.

READ ALSO: 15 Tips to Protect Your Privacy Online

  1. Anthem

Anthem, a company that operates in health insurance, was involved in a substantial data breach in 2015, around February.

Later, the press found out that cybercriminals stole personal information, including names, birth dates, home addresses, email addresses, and other details. Over seventy-nine million records were compromised. 

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  1. JPMorgan Chase

JPMorgan Chase was a financial institution that made history when it was breached in 2015.

The hackers had access to the personal information of households and small businesses, and this affected them greatly. However, some of the cybercriminals were later convicted in November 2015.

  1. MySpace

MySpace, which was a social network site similar to Facebook, was hacked around 2016. Cybercriminals who hacked the site’s database gained access to three hundred and sixty million user accounts.

According to the press, the hackers stole users’ passwords and emails. It could be named the most massive data breach in history. 

Worst Data Breaches In History

  1. Alteryx

This firm was not all that popular like other firms; it was an analytic firm.

In 2017, around December, its database was breached and hackers gained access to the private information of households and individuals, it was reported that one hundred and twenty-three million household information was vulnerable to any persons. 

  1. Equifax

In September 2017, Equifax reported a data breach that affected almost half of the country's population. The hackers gained access to one hundred and forty-five million customers' SSNs, birth dates, and other useful information.

The cybercriminals also stole the bank card information of over 200,000 customers. The announcement of the breach didn’t do well in the news, as individuals and companies were in shock.

  1. Capital One

This is the most recent data breach, which happened last year, in 2019, around July. Capital One announced that a cyber-criminal had gained access to the private information of all individuals who possess a Capital One credit card. 

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The company also revealed that the infringement of data affected a hundred million citizens in the United States of America and six million individuals in Canada.

However, luckily, ninety-nine per cent of SSN and credit card account numbers were not compromised. Only names, email addresses, home addresses, and phone numbers were breached. It was later reported that the FBI captured the culprit.

READ ALSO: Online Privacy Explained: What It Is, Why It's Important, and How to Protect It

Breaches of Epic Proportions: Worst Data Breaches FAQs

Data breaches are a serious threat in our digital age. Here's a breakdown of some of the worst data breaches ever recorded, highlighting the evolving landscape of cyber threats:

Largest Data Breach on Record (Contenders):

There are strong contenders for the “largest” title, depending on how you measure it. Here are two frontrunners:

  • Yahoo (2013-2016): This mega-breach affected a staggering 3 billion user accounts, exposing names, email addresses, phone numbers, and even some security questions and answers.

  • First American Financial Corporation (2019): This breach leaked a mind-numbing 885 million data records, including Social Security numbers and other sensitive financial information.

Other Notable Data Breaches:

  • Facebook (2018): A breach involving Cambridge Analytica compromised the personal data of over 530 million Facebook users.
  • Collection #1, #2, #3, & #4 (2019-2020): These collections of leaked databases, sometimes referred to as the “Mother of all Breaches,” contain billions of records compiled from various sources over time. The exact scope and origin remain unclear.
  • Equifax (2017): This breach exposed the personal information of 147 million Americans, including Social Security numbers, addresses, and birth dates.

Has Google Been Hacked?

Google has robust security measures in place, but data breaches can still occur. While there haven't been any public reports of breaches on the scale of those mentioned above, smaller incidents have targeted Google products like Gmail.

Which Country Has the Most Data Breaches?

It's difficult to pinpoint a single country as data breaches are a global issue. Factors like data privacy regulations and reporting practices can influence how breaches are tracked and reported.

The Impact of Data Breaches

Data breaches can have severe consequences for individuals and businesses, leading to:

  • Identity Theft: Stolen data can be used for fraudulent purposes.
  • Financial Loss: Financial information breaches can result in financial losses.
  • Reputational Damage: Breaches can damage the reputation of businesses and organizations.

Staying Safe in the Digital Age

Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself:

  • Use Strong Passwords and Enable Two-Factor Authentication: Make it harder for unauthorized access.
  • Beware of Phishing Scams: Don't click on suspicious links or attachments.
  • Be Mindful of What Data You Share Online: Limit the amount of personal information you share on public platforms.
  • Stay Informed: Keep your software updated and be aware of current cyber threats.

By understanding the magnitude of data breaches and taking steps to protect yourself, you can navigate the digital world more safely.

Bottom Line 

There you go! Our list of the worst data breaches in history.

A data breach has become one of the most prominent cybercrime in history, companies and large online stores are trying hard every day to keep their security strong and tight at all times. 

However, cybercriminals or hackers are not resting until they get what they want; that’s why companies have to strengthen their security systems and employ trustworthy IT personnel. Breached data can cause significant damage to the company; it can even tarnish its image. 


About the Author:

chandra palan
Writer at SecureBlitz

Chandra Palan is an Indian-born content writer, currently based in Australia with her husband and two kids. She is a passionate writer and has been writing for the past decade, covering topics ranging from technology, cybersecurity, data privacy and more. She currently works as a content writer for, covering the latest cyber threats and trends. With her in-depth knowledge of the industry, she strives to deliver accurate and helpful advice to her readers.

Angela Daniel Author pic
Managing Editor at SecureBlitz | Website

Meet Angela Daniel, an esteemed cybersecurity expert and the Associate Editor at SecureBlitz. With a profound understanding of the digital security landscape, Angela is dedicated to sharing her wealth of knowledge with readers. Her insightful articles delve into the intricacies of cybersecurity, offering a beacon of understanding in the ever-evolving realm of online safety.

Angela's expertise is grounded in a passion for staying at the forefront of emerging threats and protective measures. Her commitment to empowering individuals and organizations with the tools and insights to safeguard their digital presence is unwavering.


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