8 of the Biggest Data Breaches Ever and How They Happened (Infographic)
We live an overwhelming percentage of our lives on the Internet. And that means a lot of our personal information is stored there.
Unfortunately, it also means a lot of our personal information can be stolen. This week alone, Apple confirmed that the accounts of several A-list celebrities were breached while Home Depot announced that a cyber attack on its systems may have exposed customer information.
The infographic below, compiled by webmaster tool WhoIsHostingThis.com, looks back at some of the worst data breaches in history, starting with the TJ Maxx hack in 2005 and 2006 where some 94 million credit cards were compromised. In that case, damaging software stripped information off of the magnetic stripe on credit cards and criminals in Eastern Europe forged credit cards with the information retrieved.
While retreating to Antarctica and living among penguins may be the only sure way to keep your personal information out of the wrong hands, there are certain things you can do right now to decrease the risk. For example, you can be sure to keep usernames private and you can create clever passwords (please don’t choose “123456” like everybody else).
Take a spin through the infographic to learn about some of the other data breaches in history and an explanation of how they happened. Then, go update your passwords.
Catherine Clifford is senior entrepreneurship writer at CNBC. She was formerly a senior writer at Entrepreneur.com, the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Clifford attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.