3,1 billion data records leaked in 2016. How do you protect yourself?

In 2015, data breaches caused for 480 million data records to be leaked, breached or otherwise exploited by cyber criminals. But that figure doesn’t even compare to the astounding statistic from 2016.

With 3.1 BILLION data records breached in 2016, chances are high that your own data was involved in one of the massive breaches of the year.

let’s walk through some of the major hacks and data breaches from the past couple of years, and how they impacted the users:
1. Ashley Madison – August 2015 – 37 million people that were using the Ashley Madison site had their data published online, including credit card and sexual preferences. The service encouraged extramarital affairs, by helping users cheat on their partners. It led to many divorces and even some suicides.
2. iCloud / Apple – September 2014 – Not even cloud storage is safe from data breaches. Hundreds of nude celebrity photos leaked online, in a hack that was dubbed “The Fappening”. Apple later reported that the data was obtained using a highly targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions.
3. Sony Pictures Entertainment – November 2014 – You most likely remember the Sony hack, that was allegedly planned by North Korea. 47.000 social security numbers of Sony employees were taken by attackers, plus names, address and financial information. However, the press mainly focused on the gossip side of the hack. The published stories covered the private conversations between Hollywood actors and movie industry players that also leaked.
4. Snapchat / SnapSaved – October 2014 – Also known as the Snappening, in reference to the Fappening, more than 13 GB of Snapchat videos and photos leaked online. The files were breached via a third-party app, SnapSaved, that was used to save and access Snapchat files.
5. IRS – May 2015 – More than 330.000 taxpayers were affected in this data breach. It may seem like a small number, compared to other data breaches, but the impact was disastrous. The attackers gained access to filed tax returns, financial information and social security numbers.
6. Vtech – November 2015 – Information on 6.4 million children and 5.9 million adults were exposed in what experts consider the largest theft of personal data targeting kids. Name, gender and birthdate were among the stolen data on the kids, while parents had their name, mailing address, secret question and answer for password retrieval, IP address, download history and encrypted password leaked. We don’t even want to imagine what could happen if some ill-intentioned individuals would pair the info on the parents and their children.
7. LastPass – June 2015 – Who says password manager services are safe? LastPass servers were attacked last summer. The data accessed by the intruders included email addresses, password reminders and authentication hashes. However, encrypted user data (aka your stored passwords) was not breached. The company prompted all the users to update their master password immediately.
8. eBay – May 2014 – One of the biggest data breaches of all times, that let 145 million users with their names, email and postal addresses, phone numbers, birthdates and encrypted passwords exposed.
9. Anthem – February 2015 – A data breach of the second biggest health insurer in America exposed medical information of 80 million customers. Plus names, birthdays, social security numbers, email and home addresses.
10. Spotify – November 2014 – Not even music streaming services are safe from attackers. Last year, over a thousand Spotify users had their email addresses and passwords leaked online. Gaana, the most popular indian music streaming service, with more than 7.5 million monthly users, also got hacked and had its database exposed.

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