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The Biggest Data Breaches of 2016 Should Have Been Prevented



Another year goes by, and hackers continue to hit the headlines with data breaches worldwide surpassing those of 2015. The vast majority of breaches occurred in just three industries, IT at 68%, government offices 16%, and the retail sector at 11%. All industries that hold a high volume of personal details. Here are some of the big ones that made the headlines in 2016.

Yahoo: Although only discovered in September and December of last year, these breaches were actually carried out in 2013 and 2014, and involved in total the details of over one-billion subscribers. Everything from dates of birth, physical and email addresses, to personal security questions and corresponding answers. According to Yahoo, they suspect the breach may have been state sponsored.

The American Democratic Party: Most will have heard of the Clinton email breaches during the Presidential election. However, almost every office of the Democratic party was breached, including the Congressional Campaign Committee, and led to serious accusations of Russian interference in the American election. Accusations which are still under investigation.

Myspace & LinkedIn: In 2016, Myspace discovered the loss of over 425-million passwords used by 360-million users, when they were advertised on the dark web. Yet the theft had occurred in 2013. It is thought the same hacker, a Russian calling himself ‘Peace’, was also responsible for the LinkedIn attack in May 2016, when over 117-million LinkedIn subscriber details were also offered on the dark web. It is believed Peace has also been involved in other large data gathering hacks.

The Panama Papers: In April last year, Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm with clients from around the world, was breached. The hack totalled over 11.5 million files made up of 2.6 terabytes of sensitive data, including nearly 5-million emails, over 2-million PDF docs, 3-million database records, a million image files, and over 300,000 text files. Although the hacker hasn’t been identified, it is believed the breach was undertaken to expose the many wealthy clients worldwide, involved in major tax evasion in over 200 countries.

Three Mobile: Small potatoes compared to most of the above. Although no financial details were lost, in November of last year Three Mobile, one of the UK’s largest mobile suppliers, had names, addresses, telephone numbers, and dates of birth of millions of Three Mobile customers stolen. Providing a wealth of information for the likes of identification fraudsters.

Tesco Bank: The supermarket giant’s financial sector was badly hit in November last year. Although full details remain sketchy, Tesco Bank believes over 40,000 accounts were breached, with over 20,000 of its customers having money removed from their accounts online. The full amount stolen was not revealed by the bank, although it is thought to be substantial.

Russia’s Facebook Finally, if you think all this hacking is going just one way, it’s not. Remember ‘Peace’, our Russian hacker? VK is Russia’s equivalent of Facebook. In June last year, news broke that over 100-million, 500-hundred thousand, Russian user accounts had been breached, and offered on the dark web by Peace – for just one bitcoin.

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