Stolen lives – eight major hacks targeting personal data


Names, addresses and phone numbers of more than 100 million people were stolen in one of the largest hacks to date targeting US bank Capital One, the firm said this week.

Personal data is a prized target for hackers as it can be sold on to criminals intent on using it for fraudulent purposes including applying for credit cards or taking out loans in someone else’s name, according to cybersecurity experts.

As personal information thefts become ever more common, here are eight of the biggest hacks in history:

– Internet giant Yahoo suffered the world’s largest data breach, which affected about three billion accounts from 2013 to 2016. In April the company struck a $117.5 million settlement with millions of people whose email addresses and other personal information were stolen.

– Login credentials for some 412 million users of adult websites run by California-based FriendFinder Networks Inc. were compromised in 2016, including for a swinger website and records from a video sex-chat site.

– The Marriott International hotel chain disclosed in November hackers accessed up to 383 million customer records in its Starwood Hotels reservation system over four years. Exposed data included passport details, birthdates, addresses, phone numbers and payment cards.

– Athletic apparel maker Under Armour said in 2018 data from about 150 million accounts on its diet and fitness app MyFitnessPal were compromised.

– Roughly 147 million people had information, including social security numbers and driver’s license data, compromised in a 2017 data breach targeting US credit reporting company Equifax.

The company said it would pay out up to $700 million – the largest-ever settlement for a data breach – after regulators said it failed to protect data and misled consumers as to how secure it was.

– E-commerce platform eBay said in 2014 hackers stole addresses, encrypted passwords, birthdates and other information after accessing its entire database of 145 million user records.

– Hackers stole data from up to 40 million credit and debit cards in 2013 from shoppers who visited stores of US retailer Target.

– Personal data of about 79 million people, including names, birthdays, social security numbers, addresses and employment and income information was compromised in a 2015 hack targeting US health insurer Anthem.