10 Massive Security Breaches
March 12, 2011 06:00 AM They make the news on a regular basis: incidents in which a company or government agency's security is breached, leading to a loss of information, personal records, or other data. There are many ways to measure the size or cost of a security breach. Some result in the loss of millions of data records, some affect millions of people, and some wind up costing the affected businesses a lot of money. Not to mention, the questions of you calculate the value of personal medical information vs. credit card numbers. Here are ten security breaches of epic scale, plus one "bonus" incident that ranks among the boneheaded moves of all time.
TJX, T.J. Maxx, And Marshalls
In February 2007, TJX, parent company of discount stores T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, disclosed that thieves had stolen information on possibly tens of millions of credit and debit cards. The company first thought its systems had been compromised for about eight months, but it turned out the vulnerability might have lasted for almost a year longer than that. The incident wound up costing TJX millions of dollars paid to the FTC, credit card companies, banks, and consumers. Oh, and 11 hackers were eventually arrested for the break-in.
Security breaches have only increased in scope and frequency in recent years, as more businesses store their data in digital files and thieves become increasingly sophisticated in how they gain access to those files. But sometimes the attacks aren't sophisticated at all -- sometimes they just occur because someone got careless with a physical object. That's old-school data theft, no hacking required.