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March: Global Payments hacked; MasterCard, Visa customers affected
MasterCard and Visa customers were warned after a massive data breach that affected more than 1.5 million credit and debit card owners. While a hacker initially claimed responsibility for the data breach, it was quickly debunked by a source within the banking industry speaking to ZDNet.
Global Payments, the company that was hit by the data breach, explained that only credit card numbers -- not names, addresses, or Social Security numbers -- but would ultimately cost the card processing firm around $84 million to clean up.
April: Anonymous attack Chinese Web sites, defense contracts stolen
A hacker associated with hacktivist collective Anonymous posted thousands of internal documents claimed to be associated with the Chinese government, most notably defense contracts signed by the country.
By hacking the Beijing-based China National Import & Export Corp. (CEIEC), the hacker was able to acquire and publish a range of contracts and business memos linked to the U.S. military, including many relating to the U.S.-led war effort in Afghanistan. The CEIEC denied the claims and called them "groundless" and "defamatory."
May: U.K. government caught snooping on citizen data
A U.K. government department was found snooping on citizen data and many civil servants were reprimanded for looking at medical records, National Insurance numbers, (the U.K. version of 'Social Security') and even criminal records, according to a series of Freedom of Information requests.
Ultimately, it was found that there were 150 'breaches' of data security by staff at the U.K. Department for Work and Pensions, and the National Health Service (NHS)-running U.K. Department of Health over a 13-month period.
While the secure and confidential data may not have ended up in the hands of criminals or anyone outside of the department, it was a gross invasion of citizen privacy nonetheless.