The European Union’s new data protection rules set for May, 25 will give people more insights and control over the way their personal information is used online.
This follows scandals involving lax personal data protection procedures such as at Facebook where US-British political research firm Cambridge Analytica was able to harvest the data of 87 million users.
Such scandals are, however, less frequent than cases in which data are stolen through hacking attacks on websites.
Here are some of the biggest hacks according to AFP:
– Yahoo, billions hacked –
In what is considered the biggest cyber-attack in history, a 2013 hack affected all three billion accounts at Yahoo.
The disclosure in October 2017 by Verizon, which acquired Yahoo’s online assets in June, revised upward the initial estimate of one billion accounts affected.
Yahoo said the stolen user information did not include passwords in clear text, payment card data or bank account information.
– Uber off the road –
The ride-sharing giant was vilified after the hacking in 2016 of data on 57 million of its riders and drivers, unveiled only in November 2017.
The breach was hidden by the ride-sharing firm which paid hackers $100,000 to delete the data. Investigations have been opened in the United States and Europe.
– Equifax loses credit –
A breach by major American credit agency Equifax in September 2017 is seen as potentially more damaging than that of Yahoo because of the sensitivity of the data leaked.
The credit bureau said hackers obtained names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses and some driver’s licence numbers, potentially exposing victims to identity theft that has affected more than 147 million US, Canadian and British clients.
The company was sued for having identified but not corrected the breach, for having insufficient security systems and for delaying reporting the problem.
– Password plunder –
In August 2014 online data protection firm Hold Security claimed that Russian hackers had accessed 1.2 billion passwords linked to 420,000 internet sites around the world, from corporate giants to individual accounts.
Hold Security pointed to a group of hackers called CyberVor, which it said had potentially gained access to 500 million e-mail accounts. There was no major fallout from the announcement.
– Taking aim at Target –
The US retail giant was hit by a computer attack in December 2013 that affected 110 million clients.
Seventy million might have lost personal data including names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail accounts, while 40 million bank accounts and credit cards were also put at risk.
– Adobe –
In October 2013, Adobe originally reported that hackers had stolen nearly 3 million encrypted customer credit card records, plus login data for an undetermined number of user accounts. Adobe said the attackers had accessed IDs and encrypted passwords for 38 million “active users.”
However, in August 2015, an agreement called for Adobe to pay a $1.1 million in legal fees and an undisclosed amount to users to settle claims of violating the Customer Records Act and unfair business practices. In November 2016, the amount paid to customers was reported at $1 million.