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These were the biggest hacks, leaks and data breaches of 2016

Over two billion records were stolen in 2016 alone -- and the year isn't over yet.
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By Zack Whittaker, Contributor on
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Historical hacks come back to haunt, and fresh breaches bite our behinds

This was the year when many historical hacks came back to bite millions just as they were least expecting it. The uptick in delayed reporting contributed to almost 3,000 publicly data breaches this year alone -- exposing more than 2.2 billion records. And the year isn't even over yet.

Even as we approach December 31, there's no sign of it ending. Let's take a look back at some of the biggest -- and most dangerous -- hacks and leaks so far.

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FBI hacked terrorist's iPhone 5c

Should Apple help the FBI unlock a terrorist's phone? Apple said yes, but not at the expense of everyone else's security and privacy. The FBI brought a case against Apple to compel it to help its agents break into the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters, who killed 14 people and injured dozens in the terrorist attack in December. Apple refused to help the feds "backdoor" its own product, arguing that it can't crack the encryption, and lodged a formal appeal. The FBI eventually buckled under public pressure, but not before hiring hackers to break into the phone at the last minute. It set in motion a chain reaction of proposed laws and measures to try to ensure that Apple could never be above the law.

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Trump's organizations were hit again and again

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LinkedIn hack hits the headlines — for a second time

If 2016 was anything, it was the year of the repeatedly broken records. LinkedIn was the first of many hack records that was met (and later surpassed) this year. The business networking company was first hit in 2012, but the scale of the attack was only realized this year when the number of records stolen shot up by almost twenty-fold to 117 million accounts. If that wasn't bad enough, most of the passwords were ridiculously bad -- like "123456" and "linkedin." The alleged hacker was eventually caught in the Czech Republic.

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Myspace, long forgotten, but not your account details

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US accuses Russia of political cyberattacks

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Oracle Micros division hit by hackers, throwing payments into disarray

Micros, one of the largest point-of-sale terminal makers, said that hackers had compromised "hundreds of systems" at the company, potentially compromising a portal used by retail clients. Oracle said that the hackers responsible for the breach installed malware on the support portal in an effort to scrape usernames and passwords as they were entered. Those account credentials may be used to remotely administer and access point-of-sale devices located in customers' retail outlets. Oracle bought the company in 2014 for $5.3 billion.

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Another huge breach of NSA data from a staffer, no less

As if the NSA hadn't suffered enough bad publicity in the past year -- let alone the past three -- one former staffer made headlines with a breach of his own. Harold Martin, a former staffer, stole 50 terabytes of data from the agency, most of it classified. The breach vastly eclipsed what Edward Snowden stole -- thought to be a little over 50,000 files. Though Wilson was initially charged with mishandling classified information, the scale of his theft bumped the charges up to espionage. How did he get all that data through the NSA? By simply walking out the door, sources said.

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Over 400 million users exposed in AdultFriendFinder networks hack

Another day, another hack, same company. Friend Finder Network was hacked for a second time in as many years. The hack includes 339 million accounts from AdultFriendFinder.com, which the company describes as the "world's largest sex and swinger community." Over 15 million "deleted" accounts that wasn't purged from the databases. The attack happened at around the same time as one security researcher, known as Revolver, disclosed a local file inclusion flaw on the AdultFriendFinder site, which if successfully exploited could allow an attacker to remotely run malicious code on the web server.

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