The biggest data breaches of 2020

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The COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies to change their business model to incorporate considerably more home and remote working. Because of this, there was a significant increase in the number of data breaches. In fact, there were over 700 million reported data breaches and attacks in just the first six months of 2020. By the end of the year there were over 2 billion recorded data breaches.

We’ve listed the biggest data breaches of the year from some notable names in the UK, US and around the world. Remember, these are companies that invest heavily in technology, software and staff to prevent this kind of thing happening. Their business data, just like yours, is incredibly valuable in the hands of a third party.

There may be an end in sight to the COVID-19 pandemic but the data breaches and attacks will continue, and the methods used are becoming more advanced every day. In the result of a major data breach, such as these listed, hackers will have sold account credentials, sensitive data, confidential and financial records of the customers of these organizations.

Nintendo

Nintendo revealed in April 2020 that around 160,000 accounts had been compromised. Hackers then used the stolen accounts to purchase valuable digital items. Nintendo ended the ability for users to log in using their Nintendo Network ID (NNID) as a result of this attack. They also suggested that users secure their data by using two-factor authentication.

In the following months, other digital media companies such as Netflix, Spotify and Disney+ all faced similar issues.

EasyJet

EasyJet reported that 9 million data records and the details of 2,200 credit cards were stolen by cybercriminals. Due to the strict GDPR rules in the UK and Europe, it’s likely they were fined and ordered to pay compensation to the affected customers.

EasyJet has not revealed any information as to how the databases had been hacked, except to say that the hacker appeared to be targeting the company’s intellectual property, as opposed to the personal data of its client.

Twitter

On July 15, a Tweet was shared on a variety of high-profile accounts. These included Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Bill Gates and Elon Musk. They said “I’m giving back to the community. All bitcoin sent to the address below will be sent back doubled! If you send $1000, I will send back $2000. Only doing this for 30 minutes”, it reached more than 350 million people and resulted in £86,800 of stolen ‘donations’ within hours.

According to the announcement made by Twitter, “This attack relied on a significant and concerted attempt to mislead certain employees and exploit human vulnerabilities to gain access to our internal systems”

While the attack targeted 130,000 public figures and profiles, the attackers made $121,000 bitcoin donations after the attack.

Zoom

Zoom has experienced a gigantic increase in popularity with the move of both education and business to the work from home model.

The Zoom video conferencing software has become the most commonly used virtual meeting application and has also become popular with cybercriminals. In a short period of time, the software became vulnerable to multiple security threats and ultimately became a victim of a data breach. In the first week of April 2020, reports of more than 500,000 stolen Zoom passwords available for sale in dark web crime markets.

Cybercriminals then sold login credentials to those accounts on the dark web, allowing pranksters and criminals to login and attend mid-stream meetings. They were also able to obtain personal details from Zoom participants, including email addresses and other contact details.