The biggest data breaches of all time

Almost every day, an unauthorized user attempts to get access to various locations on the internet to further their own selfish interests. While these types of incidents occur regularly, what distinguishes a significant breach from a small one? Perhaps it’s the total number of users that are affected.

Since the internet’s birth, numerous hacking and breaching incidents have occurred; however, there is a need to examine those that have yet to heal the hearts of users as well as those that have caused significant damage to companies’ reputations. While some breaches occur because of human negligence, others occur as a result of leaked or less secure data.

The greatest data breaches in human history

The following is a list of the largest data breaches in history.


In the final months of 2016, Yahoo, once the undisputed king of electronic mail, disclosed that it had been a major victim of a massive data breach. This was disclosed during the company’s discussions with Verizon to sell its shareholding.

The aforementioned data breach occurred in 2013. The breach, which exposed the personal information of over 500 million users, resulted in the company’s reputation being tarnished.

Following that, in 2014, hackers stepped up their game again, claiming the passwords, dates of birth, and other personal information of 1 billion users, including their security questions and phone numbers. While Yahoo’s encryption system was unable to recover these accounts for users, the hackers continued their actions months later, amassing a total of 5 billion accounts.

In the event that the hack cost Yahoo more than $350 million, the business, which was previously valued at $100 billion, was eventually sold to Verizon for an absurd $4.48 billion. What a misfortune!

Marriott International

Marriott International suffered its worst loss to date when cyber hackers compromised the company’s data on more than 500 million consumers. The hackers that gained access to Marriott took personal information from its users, including their phone numbers and passwords.

The hackers continued at Starwood until 2018, when they were found by Marriott, which had just taken over the property. According to a New York Times report, these hackers were collaborating with the Chinese government to obtain information on US residents. If the latter is accurate, this would be the most serious violation ever committed by a state-nation.

Adult Friend Finder

The Friend Finder Network, which includes and, was compromised in October 2016. The compromise resulted in the loss of 412.2 million accounts that had been kept secure for more than two decades before the hackers staged their act.

Users lost their passwords and personal information to these hackers, and the corporation suffered significant financial losses as well as a loss of reputation with users and the general public.


Rather, hackers always targeted large firms and organizations, as was the case with the world’s largest online auction company. According to reports, a cyberattack on eBay in May 2014 disclosed users’ names, dates of birth, and addresses, as well as their encrypted passwords.

Hackers gained access to around 145 million people. The hackers who compelled consumers to pay using their cards were reported to have amassed more than $45 million from eBay’s data leak.


Equifax’s hack is thought to be one of the largest in US history. The breach, which occurred on July 29th, 2017, exposed and subsequently compromised the data of approximately 143 million customers. Additionally, 209,000 individuals had their credit card information exposed and subsequently breached.

Heartland Payment Systems

Heartland payment systems met their demise in March 2008 when hackers gained access and penetrated their systems. Heartland was handling over 100 million payments at the time of the incident.

The issue was not discovered until January 2009. The incident resulted in the compromise of 134 million payment cards and 175,000 merchant accounts. Unlike in previous breaches, the hackers, Albert Gonzalez and two unidentified Russians, were apprehended and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Target Stores

Target Stores boldly implemented systems in the last month of 2013. The hack, which occurred before Thanksgiving, went unnoticed for weeks until over 110 million individuals were impacted.

The retail behemoth was required to notify customers that unauthorized third parties had gained access to and breached their credit cards and personal information via an HVAC vendor. Target Stores reported a total loss of about $162 million.

TJX Companies, Inc.

In December 2006, TJX Companies, Inc. suffered a data breach that resulted in the theft of over 94 million credit cards and user information by hackers. While Albert Gonzalez, the mastermind of the Heartland breach, was also involved in this hacking, he had amassed several million dollars before being arrested and later imprisoned.


What consequences can a transportation company’s breach have on its users and beneficiaries? This question remains unanswered, but Uber suffered a data breach in 2016 that exposed the personal information of over 57 million users to dangerous hackers. Leaving them with a $100,000 loss and a breach of the user’s trust.

JP Morgan Chase & Co.

The July 2014 breach of the largest bank in the United States, which affected over 76 million households and 7 million small businesses, would not be easily forgotten. Following the attacks, Israelis Gery Shalon, Joshua Samuel Aaron, and Ziv Orenstein were arrested and charged with 23 counts ranging from unauthorized computer access to identity theft, security and wire fraud, and money laundering.


All of these data breaches demonstrate the importance of internet users seeking to protect themselves online. Additionally, the only available security measure is a Virtual Private Network.

On the other hand, NordVPN secures and protects your data while you browse the web. Additionally, NordVPN employs a military-grade encryption protocol that ensures your internet activities remain anonymous; as a result, you won’t have to worry about data breaches on the websites you visit.

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