The 8 Worst Data Breaches Of All Time

Corporate security breaches are common, yet disastrous. Learn from the most severe breaches so far.

Susan Fogarty

February 5, 2016

9 Slides

Data breaches in large companies are the new normal, and customers have grown accustomed to hearing about data leaks, information thefts, and loss of their personal information. But for enterprises, data breaches can be disastrous. IBM estimates the cost of an average breach at $3.8 billion. And damage to a company's reputation and level of customer trust can be immeasurable.

According to the ITRC (Identity Theft Resource Center), there have been 5,754 data breaches between November 2005 and November 2015, exposing 856,548,312 records. According to their findings, 783 of those breaches occurred in 2014, the most in a single year to date. ITRC data also indicated that 29% of breaches involved hacking incidents in 2014, compared to just 14.1% in 2007. This shows an upward trend in the number of data breaches resulting from an outside cyber-attack.

Although the data includes a comprehensive list of data breaches, whether large-scale or small, there are a few that stand out from the rest as the worst in history -- in terms of the resulting costs and number of records compromised. Here we list the eight most disastrous breaches, highlighting the cause of each breach and the effects on the public and business sectors.

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(Image: weerapatkiatdumrong/iStockphoto)

About the Author(s)

Susan Fogarty

Director of ContentSusan Fogarty is the Director of Content for Interop and UBM’s media properties InformationWeek and Network Computing. She’s an industry veteran who knows the IT audience very well, having served in content development for the event for four years and media for IT professionals for more than 20 years. Prior to joining UBM in 2012, she held an Editor position with Dell and worked at TechTarget, where she served as an Editorial Director, for 11 years.

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