2012: Looking back at the major hacks, leaks and data breaches

2012: Looking back at the major hacks, leaks and data breaches

Summary: ZDNet looks back at the year, on a month-by-month basis, at some of the most publicized hacks, leaks and data breaches of 2012.

TOPICS: Security, Cloud, Privacy

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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. 

  • 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.

Topics: Security, Cloud, Privacy

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  • And yet, we still tout the "security" of "the cloud"

    And yet, we still tout the "security" of "the cloud."

    Truth be known - if you're a cloud provider, you've probably been hacked. And you might not even know it.

    Yet, here we are, in an age where we claim cloud computing is "more secure."

    It's not more secure. In fact, the hacks against the cloud are far more scary and the stolen information far more important than anything we've seen against desktop PCs.

    Hack one person? You get one credit card number. Hack a cloud provider? You get EVERYBODY's credit card number.

    Frankly, it's time to re-think "the cloud" and how to provide security. Maybe "the cloud" isn't such a good idea for everything after all.
    • It's not the cloud.

      It's typical ZDNet propaganda by omission, details were left out. The first thing anyone want's to know in these articles is what OS was hacked. Most problems relate to password breaches, where a single Windows computer was hacked by a "Zero day" or malicious email to get password information and then everything came apart. Administrators can't remember all their information, but keeping it stored on a networked Windows notebook is negligence. For example, like what happened at Google. That's why Google no longer allows Microsoft operating systems to be used by employees. Another ZDNet article without any backbone, specifically for the benefit of MS.
  • It's not the Cloud????

    Funny . . . the servers, OSs, procedures, etc that a Cloud vendor provides is that part of the Cloud on which your corporate data resides but now with it there instead of in-house you have absolutely NO control over it. Plus, as the Cloud vendor expands its customer base, you will start to see the management and maintenance of your data outsourced offshore to the cheapest bidders who most likely will not care about the security of your company's data or or so underpaid that selling your customer database is the only way that the person can provide for their family.
  • Unfortunate Article Format - Poor editorial decision

    I really, really, really, really, really, really, really could have used a 'View as one page' option on this article. In it's present format it is totally useless to me. That also means that I do not have the opportunity to view your ads and sponsors. Think about it.
    Leo Regulus