10 Biggest Data Breaches of 2015

10 Biggest Data Breaches of 2015: Why They Matter

Discover the importance and impact data breaches have on both companies and consumers alike.

It’s no longer “if” — it’s “when.” The reality is organizations are experiencing more data breaches from hackers. The threats are increasing and the “bad guys” are finding new and better ways to attack systems. The Identity Theft Resource Center has identified at least 781 data breaches in 2015. The “Business” category experienced the most security breaches, accounting for 40% of the total breaches, with the healthcare industry not far behind it, accounting for 35.2% of the breaches.

10 of the biggest data breaches of 2015

  1. 10 Biggest Data Breaches of 2015 | SilverbullCareFirst BlueCross BlueShield
    • Breach – Occurred in May 2015. The attackers gained access to more than a million consumers’ personal information.
    • Why It Matters – The healthcare industry is very behind on the cybersecurity front; it’s time for the industry to up its game.
  2. Kaspersky Lab
    • Breach – The attack was detected in its early stages in June 2015. The hackers were targeting some of Kaspersky Lab’s new technologies. Kaspersky Lab does not believe that any of their clients’ or partners’ information was compromised.
    • Why It Matters – Kaspersky Lab is one of the largest anti-virus and information security software firms. It’s very dangerous if any of their information gets compromised, because it could affect people who are using their products for protection.
  3. 100 Banks in 30 Countries
    • Breach – In February 2015 Kaspersky Lab released a threat report, announcing that a banking cyberheist had occurred in banks across 30 countries; the criminals made off with $1 billion.
    • Why It Matters – In the report Kaspersky Lab states that these banks were compromised for 2-4 months before the criminals took the money. Banking institutions need better alert systems to find breaches quicker.
  4. Harvard University
    • Breach – The security breach was announced in July, but Harvard waited awhile to announce the breach because they did not want to compromise the efforts being made to secure the system. The University does not believe personal data or research was exposed.
    • Why It Matters – Colleges and universities store some very sensitive information and can be easy to compromise due to students opening malware emails or not having strong passwords and are difficult to protect due to BYOD.
  5. LastPass
    • Breach – In June 2015, the company announced that they noticed some unusual activity on their network. While no one’s password vault were accessed or stolen, some email addresses, password reminders and other systems were compromised. It could have been a lot worse than it sounds.
    • Why It Matters – LastPass has the option for multi-authentication for accessing vaults, this option should be set up for the ultimate security measure, so even if someone does hack their systems again there are other ways to stop them from accessing your account.
  6. Anthem
    • Breach – In February 2015 it was announced that the 2nd largest healthcare insurer in the U.S. had experienced an attack. The hackers were able to access former and current customers’ and employees’ data. While they did not access credit card or bank information, they did have access to social security numbers, street and email addresses, etc.
    • Why It Matters – Further proof that the healthcare is being increasingly targeted by cybercrime and needs to have better cybersecurity measures in place.
  7. biggest data breaches 2015Office of Personnel Management
    • Breach – In the Summer of 2015, the OPM announced that 21 million former and current government employees’ personal data were stolen during two security breaches. The stolen data includes Social Security numbers, addresses and 5.6 million fingerprints.
    • Why It Matters – This hack was bad, but the recent revelation of the fingerprints make it even worse. As this article states, fingerprints cannot be changed, and they are becoming a more common security measure over passwords these days.
  8. VTech
    • Breach – In early December it was announced that 4 million kids’ data were exposed when the tech toy company was hacked. The information that was stolen were children’s names, dates of birth, and user information on their parents who set up the accounts (passwords, mailing address, etc.)
    • Why It Matters – It is a wake up call for the general population that online data is not safe.
  9. Experian/T-Mobile
    • Breach – Experian experienced a breach from Sept. 1, 2013 to Sept. 16, 2015; they run credit checks for T-Mobile and the breach has affected 15 million T-Mobile customers. Personal data such as birthdates and Social Security numbers were stolen.
    • Why It Matters – Companies need to be conscious of the security policies of their vendors as well to avoid security hacks like this one.
  10. IRS
    • Breach – According to CNBC, the breach is affecting up to 334,000 victims. Their past tax returns, Social Security numbers and other personal pieces of information are compromised.
    • Why It Matters – The hackers can file for your tax return and claim you money.

These are a few of the biggest data breaches of this past year. Security breaches are becoming more and more common as hackers become smarter and try new tricks. Over the past year companies have realized that they need to increase their information security efforts. They are looking to hire skilled cybersecurity professionals and are having trouble finding them due to a skills gap in the industry. It will be very interesting to see what the new year brings for cybersecurity industry.

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