Michaels, Target, and More: The Biggest and Most Sensitive Data Breaches in Recent History

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Credit card machine

Michaels, the country’s largest arts and crafts chain, announced on Saturday that it found “possible fraudulent activity” on some of its customers' credit cards. The company did not say whether it was actually a security breach and did not share any specific information about the possible attack. It’s the latest of a string of high-profile, far-reaching breaches.

Target made headlines over the holiday season when hackers stole the information of at least 70 million of its customers. The information is believed to be selling in regional sets, after two men were found with 96 fraudulent credit cards at the Mexican border. The pair used the cards to buy from local South Texas retailers.

The Washington Post reports that 1.1 million customers have been affected by a breach at Neiman Marcus Group, which owns a number of luxury retail brands. The breaches are said to have happened between July and October of 2013, and so far fraudulent transactions have been made on 2,400 of the stolen cards .

Even these high-profile cases aren’t the biggest ever, however. Information is Beautiful keeps a visual record of the biggest data breaches in history. According to them, the largest hack in recent history began when a team of five Russians and a Ukrainian placed malware onto Nasdaq’s computer network.

Over seven years the six stole approximately 160 million credit and debit card numbers, targeted 800,000 bank accounts and accounted for $300 million in losses for their victims. They would directly withdraw money themselves and sell the information on the Internet.

With most of the industrial world’s financial and personal information almost completely digitized at this point, a cybersecurity breach is the 21st century’s equivalent of a bank robbery. What’s been the most “sensitive” breach recently? Perhaps it’s the 20,000,000 names, Social Security numbers, phone numbers and credit cards stolen earlier this week in South Korea. Or maybe it’s the 4 million patient names, addresses, DOBs and Social Security numbers stolen from Advocate Medical Group last September.

You can see all of the most recent and biggest breaches at DATALOSS db. There’s currently an average of one to three reports per day.

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