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In June, the most high-profile data breach occured: catastrophic for the agency involved, and a catalyst for the subsequent media frenzy and outrage of the U.S. general public. Edward Snowden, a former contractor of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), leaked confidential documents to The Guardian and Washington Post, before going on the run and eventually entering Russian territory.
The contractor quietly, over time, saved copies of confidential documents that documented the NSA's monitoring and spying activities at home and abroad. Documents are still steadily being released in to the public sphere, and as a result, the debate over governmental reach has been brought into the spotlight. Not only this, but the NSA revelations have impacted on international relationships between the U.S. and other countries.
LinkedIn, Last.fm, eHarmony
In June, LinkedIn, Last.fm, and eHarmony were all subject to user passwords being leaked online, where a hacker posted the files on forums asking for help in cracking them.
The eight million hashed passwords posted appear to belong to the professional social network, music streaming site and dating service.
All posted over several days, the biggest list of 6.46 million passwords was believed to belong to LinkedIn, and were not 'salted' -- which makes cracking hash lists faster and easier. In a blog post, LinkedIn later confirmed that some of the data did relate to user passwords -- and emails were then sent asking users to reset their details.
In October this year, Adobe admitted that 2.9 million user accounts were compromised in an attack which stole names, financial data and customer orders information.
Brad Arkin, senior director of security for Adobe products and services, explained in a blog post that "one of the unfortunate realities of doing business today" was cyberattacks, and unfortunately Adobe's security team discovered sophisticated attacks on the company's networks, although the culprits were not discovered.
In addition to the theft of customer data, Adobe said that illegal access to source code for products including Acrobat, ColdFusion, and the ColdFusion Builder was also discovered, although this was not a risk for customers.
Arkin said that while sensitive data and encrypted credit or debit card numbers were taken, federal investigators did not believe unencrypted numbers were removed from servers.
After the data breach, Adobe reset the passwords on breached Adobe customer IDs and notified customers if their financial details were exposed. In addition, the company offered these customers to enrol in complimentary credit monitoring services for a year.