The Worst Data Breaches of 2018 & What We Learned

According to Gemalto’s Breach Level Index, in just the first half of 2018 over 3 billion data records were compromised. This means that in only 6 months, data records were being stolen at an average rate of 250,000 an hour! These statistics are an important reminder of why we, as digital citizens, need to stay #PrivacyAware this Data Privacy Day.

2018 was a very bad year for data theft – enormous companies like Facebook, Google, and Marriott were all left reeling in the wake of staggering breaches.

Here’s a quick timeline of the 2018 data breaches that you should know about:

March: Cambridge Analytics & Facebook

Facebook revealed in March that the Cambridge Analytica data firm harvested the profiles of an estimated  87 million users without consent.

May: Twitter & Ticketfly

Then in May, Twitter warned over 330 million users to change their passwords. A bug in their system meant these passwords had been left vulnerable on an insecure internal log.

Ticketfly came under cyber attack in May 2018 also. Names, addresses, emails, and phone numbers of a whopping 27 million customers were stolen.

June: MyHeritage

The genealogy website revealed they were hacked in June 2018 and the full 92 million users’ emails and passwords were compromised.

August: Texas Voter Records

Over 14 million Texas voter records were found on an unprotected server. Voter name, address, gender, and several years’ worth of voting history from primaries and presidential elections was up for grabs.

November: Marriott & Google+ & USPS

On December 5th, 2018, data security experts revealed that since 2014 there had been unauthorized access to over 500 million detailed consumer records at Starwood Hotels, a Marriott-owned chain.

Google+ is on track to be shut down due to two major data breaches in 2018. The latest scandal is the theft of information including names, email addresses, occupation, and age from over 52 million users.

An anonymous researcher revealed in November of 2018 that the personal information of an estimated 60 million US Postal Service users was exposed. This included their usernames, user IDs, email addresses, account numbers, addresses, phone numbers, and real-time data.

December: Quora

The question and answer site, Quora, announced at the end of 2018 that over 100 million user accounts were compromised by a remote third-party hacker.

Here’s what we’ve learned:

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