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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  • 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. 

  • June: LinkedIn password breach affects 6.46 million users

    A Russian forum user claimed to have downloaded 6.46 million passwords belonging to LinkedIn users, though the stolen passwords were cryptographically hashed. However, many of those passwords weren't salted, meaning it was relatively easy to convert the simpler passwords into a readable format.

    LinkedIn shortly confirmed the data breach but did not explain how the passwords were accessed. Affected accounts were disabled and password reset emails were sent out. The later cleanup effort cost the professional social networking company around $1 million, and another $2-3 million in forensic work and security upgrades.

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