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October: Ghostshell hacks universities, massive data breach
Records from a number of prominent universities were made public after a Ghostshell hacker obtained more than 120,000 records and sets of data. Most of the data was SQL-related content.
The leaked data contained more than 36,600 email addresses were identified and tens of thousands of university student, faculty, and staff names were disclosed. While the details of only one bank account were disclosed, much of the data included ethnic, nationality and other personally identifiable information, as well as a whole range of passwords.
The Ghostshell group is known for its higher education agenda, with focus not limited to tuition fees and troubles in the post-graduation job market.
- Read more: GhostShell university hack: By the numbers
South Carolina suffers huge Social Security records theft
The state of South Carolina suffered a massive data loss of more than 3.6 million Social Security records, after government servers were breached. With a population of 4.6 million, this breach represented about 78 percent of the state's population. 16,000 credit card details were also stolen without encryption.
The figure also included 670,000 businesses affected by the data breach. It took close to three weeks before the hack came to light after U.S. Secret Service first received information regarding an incident on October 10, 2012.
Barnes & Noble credit card machines breached, card data stolen
Barnes & Noble had 63 stores hit -- including its flagship "world's largest bookstore" in New York City, after hackers stole vast amounts of credit card data from around the United States. The data was stolen from the credit card machines part of the 63 store's cash registers. A public letter said the book giant had disabled its 7,000 keypads in hundreds of its stores, despite only one store being hit in the successful hacking attack.
The hack was kept quiet for more than five weeks for the U.S. Justice Dept. and the FBI to investigate. Barnes & Noble said it was "working with banks, payment card brands and issuers" to identify any accounts that may have been compromised.