In-depth

Biggest data breaches of 2016 and 2017

Petabytes of data have been taken by hackers over the past 12 months, we look at some of the biggest breaches...

Data breach

2016 was a year of data breaches. It seemed at times that not a month would go by without a new record being set for the number of records being compromised.

According to figures from the Information Commissioner's Office there has been a 46% increase in cyber security incidents and a 54% increase in exfiltration (unauthorised data transfer) incidents in the UK alone.

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 We take a look at the biggest data breaches of 2016 and how they happened...

SWIFT

Global financial payments network Swift had to devise a new cyber security plan in the wake of a $81 million heist from a Bangladeshi bank in April last year. Hackers attempted to steal around $950 million dollars from Bangladesh Bank, funnelling money through the SWIFT network. However, most of the transactions were put to a halt by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where the infiltrated account was held. The bank later managed to recover $15 million in November.

Donald Trump

Prior to becoming president, Donald Trump's hotel chain was the subject of a cyber attack in 2016, just a year after a previous attack. Hackers targeted its credit card systems of the Trump Hotel Collection. Trump now has gone on to lead efforts on the US's cyber security strategy.

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LinkedIn

At the time, the LinkedIn data breach was one of the biggest to have happened. It was hacked data search engine LeakedSource that revealed the usernames and passwords of up to 117 million LinkedIn users up for sale by the hacker that stole the data. The hacker was selling the data for just five bitcoins and was later arrested in the Czech Republic.

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MySpace

Just when everyone forgot about this prehistoric social network, it was revealed that it had suffered a database breach leading to the exposure of users emails, passwords and usernames. Around 427 million passwords were reportedly leaked online.

Donald Trump (again)

Donald Trump managed to get himself behind the desk at the Oval Office, with the possible help with a number of well-timed data breaches.

Prior to the presidential election, US government officials blamed Russia for cyber hacks exposing 19,000 emails from the Democratic National Committee's (DNC) servers. Even the Donald said he believed Russia was behind the attacks.

The NSA

Hack not lest ye be hacked is not a saying often used (or indeed used outside of this article), but the US National Security Agency was subject to a hack by a criminal group known as the Shadow Brokers. The group managed to gain access to cyber weapons from the Equation Group, the NSA's own group of hackers to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

It was later confirmed by Cisco that two exploits in a cache of "cyber weapons" are legitimate, prompting fears over the security of NSA data.

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