The term “cyber security” seems a little misleading. After all, there have been so many data breaches, viruses and online hacks that having your data stolen is basically a rite of passage. Yes, we’re living in a hackers world and our only hope is that they choose to prey on the weak and elderly.
Still, it’s nice to see the powers that be actually try to protect our personal information. Sadly, there have been more than a few head scratching lapses in judgment from higher ups sworn to protect our data. From government leaks to corporate ineptitude, these epic fails show you just how exposed we are in the modern world. Read on to learn more…and then immediately change your password.
Oh, the summer of 2017. A simpler time when “Despacito”, male rompers and fidget spinners reigned supreme. Things finally seemed to be returning to normal after a wildly divisive 2016. That is, until one of the largest credit agencies in the U.S. had their data exposed.
Equifax captivated the entire country after they revealed the personal information of their consumers was exposed in a series on attacks. Thanks to an out-of-date web server, some 148 million people had their data exposed.
People everywhere were left wondering whether their confidential information was at risk – including their address, driver’s license numbers and Social Security numbers.
The Equifax breach went unnoticed thanks to an outdated data inspection system. In total, hackers made over 9,000 queries. Even worse, they waited over six weeks to disclose the breach to the public.
Despite all of their negligence, Equifax has since rebounded. They continue to receive large government contracts, at least until the next massive data breach harms millions of people across the country.
Remember Yahoo? Yes, your aunt’s favorite email server is still very much a thing. For many, Yahoo is just another forgotten web service provider…and an anonymous place to see the hard hitting questions you just can’t find on Google.
Yahoo was all fun and games until the fall of 2016. That’s when they announced they had been the subject to the largest data breach in history. As part of their negotiations with Verizon, Yahoo revealed that a vast majority of its users had their data compromised in 2014.
The names, telephone numbers, email addresses and passwords of over 500 million people were exposed thanks to the breach. At least…that’s what they said. Yahoo later revised their claim to reveal the real number of exposed users – all of them. That’s right. A whopping 3 billion Yahoo users had their data stolen in the breach.
Naturally, Yahoo got the last laugh as they still earned a cool $4.48 billion in an acquisition from Verizon. Years later, Yahoo still doesn’t know exactly how they were hacked, which doesn’t exactly inspire confidence of a cyber secure future.
For years, Marriott was renowned as one of the premiere hotel chains. Whether you were staying for business, pleasure or free breakfast, Marriott always had your back. All good things, however, must come to an end.
Marriott’s glowing reputation came to a screeching halt in late 2018, when they announced that over 500 million customers had their data stolen. The cyber attack was made even worse by the fact that the thieves went undetected in their system for over four years.
They later discovered that a Chinese intelligence group had hacked into the guest reservation database of its Starwood hotel brands. The compromised data included information like passport numbers, credit card numbers and their expiration dates. And you thought your stay at Motel 6 was bad!
Facebook has long been the subject of scandal. What was once a carefree oasis for casually stalking your ex is now a breeding ground for vicious online hacks.
The 2016 election cycle put Facebook in the news for all the wrong reasons. That’s when the consulting firm Cambridge Analytica secretly harvested the data of millions of Facebook users to influence public opinion. Around the same time, the social network was embroiled in another scandal involving Russian bots promoting political propaganda.
Zuckerberg and company were back in the news in 2018 after another hack infiltrated over 50 million user accounts. The hackers were able to exploit vulnerabilities in Facebook’s code to access the personal information of users, including their private messages.
Despite all these setbacks, Facebook is stronger than ever. Because people really need to let the world know when their relationship status goes from “single” to “it’s complicated.”
- Friend Finder Networks
Let’s face it: the internet is a filthy place. A quick search of the top websites will reveal some truly harrowing information about our behavior online. A massive data breach of the adult dating company Friend Finder Networks forever confirmed that people really are downright deviant.
Here’s what happened: in 2016, hackers discovered that passwords stored by Friend Finder Networks were stored in an insecure format. The poor storage system made the passwords appear in all lowercase letters, leaving them vulnerable to attacks.
Hackers took full advantage by stealing data from over 412 million accounts from the “world’s largest sex and swinger community.” The data included sensitive information from users of sex cam sites, pornographic sites, and adult dating sites.
Here’s the crazy part: the company had already been hacked one year earlier. Users login details, passwords, IP addresses and membership statuses had already been exposed.
Here’s the kicker: the data also included whether or not users were seeking extramarital affairs. I guess the old adage is true – cheaters never prosper.
CHRIS PARKER is the founder of WhatIsMyIPAddress.com, the premier website for helping people throughout the world find, check or get details on a specific IP Address. Today, it attracts more than six million visitors monthly thanks to its IP address-related tools and easy-to-read, informative articles.
Categories: Geeks and Nerds Stuff