Biggest data breaches & hacks of 2016
In 2015, we witnessed several huge data breaches, but it seems we have not experienced the largest data breach yet. 2016 has seen some of the biggest corporations intensify their data protection measures against hackers. However, it is the same year that some of the biggest data breaches have occurred. They include;
Premier Healthcare announced a data breach in March 2016, after a laptop was stolen from the billing department of the healthcare group. The laptop which was not encrypted but was protected by a password contained sensitive information belonging to 200,000 patients. According to databreaches, names of the patients, dates of birth, financial and insurance information were stolen from the documents on the laptop.
On September 2016, Yahoo announced that hackers had stolen information for at least 500 million users. The breach which happened in late 2014 is touted as the largest data breach in the history of the internet. According to USAToday, the details that were stolen include telephone numbers, dates of births, email addresses, names of users, encrypted passwords and much more. While citing the likely consequences of the breach, the company advised users to be wary of any unusual activity in their accounts.
Elections Commission of the Philippines
In March 2016, the elections commission of the Philippines experienced a breach that experts warned could be the worst government data breach in the world. According to the Guardian, it was estimated that personal information belonging to every voter (55 million voters) was compromised. The hack led to the stealing of huge amount of sensitive data such as fingerprints of voters and their passport numbers.
In November 2016, an x-rated website, AdultFriendFinder.com was hacked, and approximately 412 million users had their personal data stolen and later published in criminal marketplaces found online. The stolen information included passwords, last IP address to log in, browser information, email addresses and VIP member status. The company only admitted vulnerability but did not confirm the attack.
To keep these events from happening in the future, corporations and individuals need to adopt latest data security measures and review processes to strengthen their protective capability further. Instead of regretting later, protecting the privacy of personal data should be a top priority. The affected companies should learn from their past experiences and come up with robust systems of prevent such incidents from occurring in future.