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The Top Five Data Breaches of 2018

The Top Five Data Breaches of 2018

By Ana Mezic, Marketing Coordinator at PacketSled

Data breaches were a hot topic (again) in the news last year and everyone from consumers to small business owners to billion-dollar companies were affected. Most experts agreed that 2018, like 2017, would see a steady increase in cybercrimes perpetrated against US companies by both foreign and domestic players. Unfortunately, those experts were right and the breach impact continues to be increasingly painful. According to the Ponemon Institute, between 2017 and 2018:

  • The average total cost of a data breach rose from $3.62 to $3.86 million, an increase of 6.4%.
  • The average cost for each lost record rose from $141 to $148, an increase of 4.8 percent.
  • The average size of the data breaches in this research increased by 2.2 percent.

Here is our list of the top five Worst Security Breaches of 2018:

  1. Aadhar: India’s government ID database discovered it had been hacked in March 2018. Though they still don't know exactly when the hack occurred, it is possibly the largest hack in history with 1.1 billion people’s private information stolen. The data lost included information on services connected to Aadhar like bank accounts as well as every resident’s name and ID number. According to ZDNet, the hack happened because the controversial database, which contains the biometrics and personal information of over 1 billion Indians, hadn't secured its API. The Huffington Post conducted a three-month-long investigation which concluded that “[the database] was compromised by a software patch that disabled critical security features of the software used to enroll new Aadhaar users.”
  2. Marriott Hotels: 2018 ended with another rough hit as Marriott fell victim to one of the largest data breaches of all time. At the end of November, the hotel chain disclosed that as many as 500 million people who made a reservation at a Starwood hotel since 2014 had their data compromised. Of those, 170 million only had basic information like names and email addresses stolen. But the majority of travelers hacked had much more personal information taken such as dates of birth, travel information, trip and reservation numbers. According to a report published in Wired Magazine, Chinese hackers breached the Starwood hotel’s reservation system in September 2016 and it went undetected until November 2018, causing it to be one of the largest hacks in history.
  3. Facebook: The company’s first major (known) data breach happened in 2018. Facebook disclosed that hackers gained access to 30 million accounts by taking advantage of the site’s ‘user authorization tokens,’ or the access badges that get generated once a user logs in, enabling them to forgo logging in every few minutes.
  4. The Olympics: The Pyeongchang Olympics were hacked not once but twice by Russian hackers who were retaliating against the country’s ban from competing in the games due to a doping scandal. Right before the opening ceremony of Olympics, their entire IT infrastructure was taken down, Wi-Fi stopped working, shutting down the official website and networks in the process. The hack was named “The Olympic Destroyer” because it was the name of the worm that the hackers used to infiltrate the games.
  5. Google+: Google is planning to shut down its failed social and business platform, Google+, in April following an audit that discovered a bug which had already exposed about 500,000 users’ data for three years. Then, during a software update on November 7, a bug exposed another 52.5 million user accounts.

Now that 2018 is (thankfully) behind us, perhaps organizations will learn from some of these errors and devote more time and resources to regularly auditing their systems to put together plans to protect vital company and customer data. For companies looking for solid security resources on an audit or best practices for your security program, please visit a community-driven website such as isaca.org. For a cybersecurity outlook on 2019 and beyond, please stay tuned for our upcoming blog where we will discuss what the experts say is in-store for us looking forward. You can read our informative blogs and other content by visiting www.packetsled.com/blogs.

Stay informed of the weekly security breaches and other industry news by reading our bi-weekly blog This Week in Cybersecurity.

About PacketSled

PacketSled is an AI-driven network monitoring and forensics platform of choice for security teams globally. Used by enterprises and MSSPs for real-time network analysis, threat hunting and incident response, the platform leverages continuous stream monitoring and retrospection to provide network forensics and security analytics. Security teams can integrate PacketSled into their orchestration engine, SIEM, or use PacketSled independently to dramatically reduce the resources required to respond to persistent threats, malware, insider attacks, and nation state espionage efforts.

The company has been named an innovator in leading publications and by security analysts, including SC Magazine, earning a finalist award in 2018 and 2019 for "Best Computer Forensic Solution.” Based in Santa Barbara and San Diego, the company is backed by investors including Keshif Ventures and Blu Venture Investors. For case studies, continuous product updates and industry news, please visit us at www.packetsled.com or follow us @packetsled.