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Three Famous Data Breaches of the Past Decade

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Over the years, the internet has connected people all over the world—from community forums to online shopping and other types of social media, an infinite amount of information and opportunities to connect with other people are at one's fingertips. Unfortunately, the exchange of information online isn't always fully protected, or at least not when malicious hackers are involved. Get the details behind major security breaches that impacted three United States corporate giants.


Circumstances: In October 2013, the news that a group of hackers stole credit card information attributed to nearly 3 million Adobe customers was released on a reputable cybersecurity blog. This breach not only exposed financial information but also customer names and login credentials.

Company Response: Per an agreement reached in August 2015, Adobe paid $1.1 million in legal fees and $1 million to affected users to settle the claim that the American software company violated the Customer Records Act and conducted unfair business practices.


Circumstances: In mid-2017, one of the nation's largest credit bureaus reported that about 147.9 million consumers' personal information was leaked, which included birth dates, addresses, drivers’ licenses (for some users), and more sensitive information such as social security numbers and credit card data.

Company Response: Equifax announced the news of the breach on September 7, 2017, over a month after the breach had occurred. The unpatched application vulnerability that the company reported had allowed hackers access to one of Equifax's websites was one of the biggest faults attributed to Equifax and was one of the leading issues that left the consumers at risk.


Circumstances: In September 2016, Yahoo!, an American web services provider, announced that in 2014 one of the biggest data breaches of the decade had occurred. Affecting 500 million user accounts, this data breach revealed real names, dates of birth, email addresses, and telephone numbers. Then, in late 2016, Yahoo! reported another data breach spearheaded by a different hacker that occurred in 2013 that exposed the names, dates of birth, email addresses and passwords, and security questions and answers of 1 billion accounts.

Company Response: At the time of the original breach, Verizon was in the process of purchasing Yahoo! and paid $4.48 billion for the acquisition. This alarming data breach deducted $350 million from the internet portal's initial price tag.

Gaining access to some of the most basic and advanced resources in the Internet Age requires consumers to share sensitive information in good faith that companies are following the most up-to-date and rigorous security compliance protocols and are readily informing the public of data breaches as they happen. Security breaches can occur across many industries, as demonstrated with the examples above, and companies rely on knowledgeable cybersecurity professionals to identify vulnerabilities as well as the individuals who take advantage of them.

Learn how you can support companies large and small to address today's biggest security challenges with an MPS in Cybersecurity Management from Tulane School of Professional Advancement. Our program is offered completely online and students also have the opportunity to earn graduate certificates in Cyber Defense, Cyber Leadership, IT Strategic Planning, and Technology Architecture to grow their practice in this field of study. Request more information about our program today to learn how Tulane SoPA can help you further your career as a cybersecurity professional.

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