Beautiful and Scary Evidence: Top 10 Data Breaches

The creative team at Information is Beautiful designed an alarming – and yes, beautiful – interactive graphic that shows the size and scope of data breaches over the last few years.


2 August 2013

Sometimes seeing is believing. The creative team at Information is Beautiful designed an alarming – and yes, beautiful – interactive graphic that shows the size and scope of data breaches over the last few years.

The data is not new, but its arresting presentation brings to life the startling reality that our personal data, even our own identities, are increasingly vulnerable. Here are the Top 10 known data breaches from 2004 through mid-2013:

worlds biggest data breaches

10. Sony Online Entertainment ~25M Records (2011). This was the second data breach for Sony Online, a result of hacking.

9. RockYou!
32M Records (2009)
RockYou! Eventually settled with the FTC over this major data breach.

8. Card Systems 40M Records (2006)
This credit card breach resulted in significant legal penalties and fines.

7. Living Social 50M Records (2013)
The breach was large, but didn’t expose significant personal data.

6. Evernote 50M Records (2013)
Weak security enforcement exposes record of 50 million users.

5. US Military 76M Records (2009)
A veterans organization failed to properly dispose of a hard drive properly, resulting in this theft.

4. Sony PSN 77M Records (2012)
Sony paid a $250M fine for this data breach on its PlayStation Network.

3. AOL 92M Records (2006)
A huge breach of personal data from AOL subscribers.

2. TJ Maxx 94M Records (2007)
The largest data breach at the time, TJ Maxx lost customer records including debit card details.

1. Heartland 130M Records (2009)
The payment processor lost data that impacted over 650 financial services firms, in addition to the 130 million records lost.

All of these are dwarfed by the recent security breach of over 160 million credit card records from a number of companies, resulting in over $300 million in theft. Of course, sometimes it’s not the size of the breach, but the value and sensitivity of the loss that matters: in 2013, we’ve seen a large data breach from the Washington State court system, and over 4,000 records taken from the Federal Reserve related to banking executives.
Sharing information is essential to our digital economy, but trusting valuable information takes constant vigilance and working with the right partners.

Source: David McCandless, Information is Beautiful



Ian Bruce

Ian Bruce

Ian Bruce is the VP of Corporate Communications at Intralinks. He has 20 years of international marketing experience across software, hardware, consulting, and financial services at both VC-backed start-ups and large multinationals. Prior to joining Intralinks, Ian held various marketing and communications roles at Avid Technology, HP, Novell, Systinet, and CSC.