NetworkTigers discusses which companies have been hacked the most and reveals the biggest hack.
Billions lost. Trust shattered. Customers canceling in droves. When a company is hacked, the results can reverberate across more than just a one-time loss of income. In addition to assessing whether or not to pay a ransom, company leaders must also examine the total cost of the breach, including the amount of lost data and the blow to brand loyalty. In the aftermath of a breach, repairing or restructuring data security to prevent future hacks can also take a financial toll.
Measuring the scope of a hack can be done in many different ways. “Biggest hack” can refer to the size of a ransom paid, the total cost assessed, the length of the hack, or the number of accounts accessed. Following are some of the biggest hacks yet recorded. As for which company has been hacked the most, the answer is a well-known company that might surprise you.
The biggest hacks and data breaches of all time
The more data consumers entrust to a company, the greater the cost of a hack can be. For social media giant Facebook, many users lost their faith in the company entirely when it was revealed in 2019 that 533 million users had their accounts breached and personal data posted online. The data accessed was not directly financial and consisted mainly of phone numbers and account names. However, the breach was so enormous that it prompted security researcher and Microsoft regional director Troy Hunt to create a new search feature on the notable website Have I Been Pwned to help Facebook users determine if their phone numbers had been posted online.
Sina Weibo, the Chinese social media site, saw around 538 million users affected by a hack in March 2020. During the chaos of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese company announced that an unknown hacker had attacked the media website. Allegedly, the hacker sold the database containing the names, usernames, gender, location, and phone numbers on the Dark Web for a payout as low as $250.
LinkedIn helps users build and maintain their professional networks. In June 2021, the data of 700 million users, or about 90% of accounts, was hacked. Using data scraping techniques to mine the site’s API, a hacker known only as “God User” managed to share at least 500 million accounts’ data before offering to sell the remaining 200 million. LinkedIn argued that the hack violated its terms of service and was not an actual breach. However, users’ email addresses, phone numbers, geolocation data, genders, and more were involved in the data scrape.
Moving into the billions of consumers affected, the 2019 Alibaba hack is one of the biggest on record. A hacker developed a crawler software to prowl through the database of Taobao, an Alibaba Chinese shopping site. Because of the e-commerce giant’s nature, customers’ financial and personal information was jeopardized by the data breach. The developer and his employer were caught and sentenced to three years in prison.
The biggest data breach on record is a company that has caught the limelight several times for being hacked. If Yahoo had learned its lesson from the first time its defenses were breached, it might be less infamous for its lax security. Yahoo has been hacked more times than similar companies, and more users were affected by the recurring breaches. In 2016 Yahoo announced the full scope of a 2013 data breach that impacted a whopping 3 billion accounts. Amazingly, a buyout from Verizon still took place even after the full extent of the damage done was revealed. Luckily, it seems that passwords, bank data, and credit and debit card information were not released in the hack, even though hackers accessed the answers to security questions and prompts.
Don’t be like Facebook, Sina Weibo, LinkedIn, Alibaba, and Yahoo
When faced with a data breach, how would your company handle it? How a company responds to being hacked can have an enormous impact on rebuilding consumer trust.