The largest data breaches of 2015
Since the Target and Home Depot hacks of 2013, high profile data breaches are an increasingly common occurrence. Here are nine of the largest ones this year:
1. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield
While not the largest breach on the list, this health insurance provider's breach was the longest, stretching as far back as December 2013 before it was finally stopped this past September. Hackers compromised personal data for more than 10 million members when they targeted the company's IT systems.
2. Premera Blue Cross
This breach barely qualifies for this year's list, as Premera officials discovered it in January. This health insurer's hack started in May 2014 and leaked information of more than 11 million members, including employees from three Seattle-based companies: Amazon, Microsoft and Starbucks.
The last healthcare breach on the list is also the largest ever recorded in this industry. Initial estimates for the February data leak came it at 78.8 million breached patient medical records. Later, Anthem officials added another 8.8 million to 18.8 million more people to that total, covering non-patient record leaks.
This breach is significant because it is the first to target children. VTech, the landline phone turned early educational electronics manufacturer, announced last month that a hack exposed 6 million children accounts and 5 million parent accounts from their Learning Lodge application store.
Much like how the Premera breach involved outside companies, the Experian leak was a publicity nightmare for T-Mobile. Experian, which processes credit checks for the mobile phone carrier, compromised the data of 15 million T-Mobile subscribers by the time the hack ceased in October.
Even the federal government couldn't escape data breaches this year. In June, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management announced the leak of over 21.5 million American citizens, including 19.7 million people who applied for security clearances, 3.6 million current and former government employees and 1.8 million relatives and associates of other government personnel. In addition, the hack stole 5.6 million fingerprint records.
7. Ashley Madison
In August, the website revealed that it leaked the information of 37 million users. Even worse was that the site's "full delete" feature didn't actually remove personal data, meaning many former users who thought they had removed their information were included in the breach.
8. The Trump Hotel Collection
From May 2014 through June 2015 hacks occurred several prominent Trump Hotel locations, leaking an as yet undisclosed number of customer credit and debit card information.
9. Hilton Worldwide
This breach is one of the shortest on the list, lasting from April to July of this year, but it covers a large portion of the company's brands, including Hilton, Embassy Suites, Doubletree, Hampton Inn and Suites and Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts. Much like the Trump hack, criminals were able to obtain customer credit and debit card information from malware installed on point of sale hardware in restaurants and shops located on hotel property.
Situations like these showcase the importance of a robust disaster recovery plans. To find help develop a plan for your business, consider seeking the advise of a disaster recovery planning consultant.