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article imageA look at the largest data breaches over the past 15 years

By Tim Sandle     Oct 18, 2019 in Technology
A new study put together by Kastle Systems looks at the largest data breaches over the past 15 years within the U.S.. The findings highlight which industries and organizations have had the most data breaches.
The study ("A Snapshot of Data Breaches") also demonstrates the number of records stolen by industry, the most effective data breach methods, and other information that helps to present a useful overview of the state of company and government security systems.
The study finds that the finance industry has had the most data breaches across the 15-year review period, with over 1.53 billion records stolen. On the opposite side of the spectrum, fewer than 20,000 political records have been stolen from the U.S. government. In total 3 billion records have been stolen during the 15 years assessed.
In terms of the biggest single data breach for the period 2004-2019, this falls with First American Corporation, which had the largest data breach with over 885 million records stolen. This was followed by Facebook (where 597 million records have been compromised) and Marriott International (coming just behind with 500 million records). With the Facebook tally, in 2018 the company was forced to contact 87 million users about a loss of data.
The Marriott incident was covered by Digital Journal, where we quoted Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson as stating: "We fell short of what our guests deserve and what we expect of ourselves. We are doing everything we can to support our guests, and using lessons learned to be better moving forward."
The review of data breaches further shows that Facebook has had the most frequent hacks with four data breaches over the time period. This was followed by Citigroup and AOL, each with three data breaches each.
Linking these events together, the survey shows how most of the cases have arisen due to hacking. While the techniques deployed by the hacker, once in, have varied, the fundamental weaknesses of systems enabled cyber-criminals to exploit vulnerabilities.
More about Data, Data breach, Cybersecurity
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