10 Biggest Data Breaches in History Revealed

Here are the top ten biggest data breaches ever, and how many records were leaked in the process.

A new study has revealed the ten largest data breaches in history, based on the number of compromised records.

Cybersecurity has become a hot-button issue for the business world in recent years, with data breaches popping up on what feels like a daily basis. Between the skills shortage and the evolving strategies of hackers, businesses around the world are always playing catch up when it comes to shoring up their security.

Fortunately, the ten largest data breaches in history haven't been too recent, but that doesn't mean we can't learn a thing or two about how to avoid them.

10 Biggest Data Breaches Ever

The research from NinjaOne, a patch management software company, investigated the largest data breaches in history by looking at the companies that saw the greatest number of records compromised in their breaches.

Here are the top ten biggest data breaches ever, and how many records were leaked in the process:

  1. Yahoo (2013) – 3 billion
  2. First American Corporation (2019) – 885 million
  3. Facebook (2019) – 540 million
  4. Marriott International (2018) – 500 million
  5. Yahoo (2014) – 500 million
  6. Friend Finder Network (2016) – 412 million
  7. Exactis (2018) – 340 million
  8. Airtel (2019) – 320 million
  9. Truecaller (2019) – 299 million
  10. MongoDB (2019) – 275 million

There are a few key takeaways from all this research, not the least important of which is that none of these breaches has happened in the 2020s, which is an encouraging sign for the state of cybersecurity in the modern era.

However, it's also worth noting that Yahoo clearly had a cybersecurity problem in the early 2010s. Not only does the company account for the largest data breach in history by a factor of three, but Yahoo also accounts for two of the top five largest data breaches in history, all in a yearlong period. At 3.5 billion total records lost, that's nearly half the population of the entire planet.

The Importance of Cybersecurity

So, a few million records were leaked, what's the big deal? Well, in the modern era, data remains a driving force in the tech industry, making it a prime target for hackers.

“Data is one of the most valuable commodities in our interconnected world, and it pays dividends to keep it safe with proper security practices.” – a spokesperson for OneNinja

For businesses, data breaches like the ones listed above can have a dire impact. From lost revenue to a lack of trust, these breaches have far-reaching consequences that can have a decidedly negative effect on your business.

In fact, one study found that a data breach can cost businesses almost $10 million on average. Even worse, 55% of consumers say that they would be less likely to patronize a business that has been breached, so finding a way to protect your business from data breaches is clearly a pertinent priority.

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How to Avoid Data Breaches

Now that you've been sufficiently scared into shoring up your security, you need to know how to avoid data breaches. After all, hackers are getting more and more advanced by the minute, and it'll take a multi-faceted approach if you want to keep them at bay.

There are a few tools that can help get you started. VPNs are vital for businesses, particularly those with remote and hybrid workers, as it keeps your data transfers secure from any outside onlookers. Password managers are also quite helpful, especially when you consider the majority of breaches stem from poor password security.

Beyond that, though, you're really going to want to get a cybersecurity professional on your team as soon as possible if you can afford it. The threat of data breaches is ever evolving, and dedicating your inexperienced time to solving these problems is going to be a huge time-suck on your business. After all, you don't want to end up like Yahoo.

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Written by:

Conor is the Lead Writer for Tech.co. For the last six years, he’s covered everything from tech news and product reviews to digital marketing trends and business tech innovations. He's written guest posts for the likes of Forbes, Chase, WeWork, and many others, covering tech trends, business resources, and everything in between. He's also participated in events for SXSW, Tech in Motion, and General Assembly, to name a few. He also cannot pronounce the word "colloquially" correctly. You can email Conor at conor@tech.co.

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