#ThatWas2018: From Quora to Facebook, 5 biggest data breaches
2018 is coming to an end, and we must say the year was truly a roller-coaster ride. We made some major advancements in technology, but at the same time, we also witnessed a number of setbacks. Case in point: data breaches. Many organizations willingly or unwillingly compromised personal information of several users. Here are the 5 biggest breaches of 2018.
Just last month, Marriott admitted to suffering from one of the biggest breaches of the year. The hotel group revealed that its Starwood division's guest reservation database was breached by an unauthorized third-party. As a result, the attacker was able to steal information of up to 500 million Marriott guests, including their phone numbers, emails, passport numbers, and even some payment details.
Exactis, a data broker firm compiling consumer and business data for marketing purposes, left as many as 340 million records on a publicly accessible server. The terabytes worth of data, uncovered by a security researcher Vinny Troia in June, included information like individual phone numbers, emails, home addresses, as well as personally identifiable elements like interests, habits, gender, and age of people.
Earlier this month, popular question-and-answer website Quora suffered a mega data breach affecting as many as 100 million users of the service. The site revealed that a malicious third-party broke into its system, which compromised user names, emails, IP addresses, hashed passwords, and content like messages, questions, answers, comments, blog posts, and upvotes.
Google+ wasn't hacked but was affected by bugs associated with its APIs for app developers. In October, the platform exposed data of some 500,000 users, and now in December, it leaked data of as many as 52.5 million users. These bugs didn't expose passwords or contacts but gave developers unauthorized access to profile-related data like names, emails, occupation, places, and age of the users.
This year was particularly harsh for Facebook, and rightly so. After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook's image has been completely marred, a data breach that occurred in September was the last thing Facebook would have wanted. The platform compromised data of 30 million users when hackers exploited a vulnerability in its code. They stole users' emails, phone numbers, locations, name, gender, age, religion etc.
Almost every company that operates online and you use has something or the other related to you, be it your email or phone number. You cannot ask every single firm to delete your data or remove yourself completely from the internet. However, you can enhance your security settings and share limited information with them. That said, now is the time to accept: Privacy on internet is a myth.