Massive hack attacks 2012_blogIn this two-part blog series, we’ll look at some of the biggest online security breaches of 2012. What happened, who was affected, and how you can protect yourself from being a victim.

 2012 was a big year for hackers, mostly because we, the public, made it easy for the them. While reports show that more than half of consumers are genuinely concerned about getting hacked, behaviuor studies show something different: we continue to put ourselves at risk.  Here at BullGuard, we strongly believe education is the key to closing that gap.  Stick with us… we won’t let you be a victim.

So, what were some of the biggest hacks of 2012?

1.     Coming in hot and much worse than any of the other contenders is Zappos.

The online shoe store was hacked in January of this year. The result? 24 million Zappos shoppers had their passwords, email addresses, postal addresses and phone numbers exposed. And if that’s not bad enough, a portion of those 24 million also had their credit card numbers leaked. Granted, they were only the last 4 digits, so no illegal purchases could be made. But still, enough personal information was exposed to damage the brand.

2.     LinkedIn comes in at Number 2, with +6.5 million users impacted by this scam.

In June, LinkedIn experienced a major security breach: 6.5 million passwords were hacked.  This hack was different from others. The information posted on LinkedIn by its users is real professional data, it’s not about what they’re eating for lunch – does Facebook ring a bell? And to make matters worse, because all accounts are linked, the hackers were able to access personal data about not just the 6.5 million they hacked, but the contacts of those 6.5million LinkedIn users, as well.

3.     Apple might be a surprise at Number 3. And why were the FBI involved?

September saw the hacker collective, AntiSec capture +1million Apple IDs… from the laptop of an FBI agent. What?! Yes, you read that correctly.

Apparently, AntiSec’s hack was a political statement on government oppression and hypocrisy. And interestingly enough a total of 12 million IDs were, in fact, found on the laptop, along with addresses, full names and mobile numbers. However, the hackers decided not to release all the data as their intent was to make a point against the government, not the people.

All of this begs the question: Why on earth would the FBI have your Apple ID? And, why wouldn’t they protect it better? These will remain unanswered questions, as the FBI has denied any and all involvement in this most complicated and confusing of hacks.

A common thread in how each of these companies handled their massive hack attacks was to send an email blast to their customers urging them to reset their account passwords. Hacks such as the ones mentioned in this post can be extremely damaging to a company, and as these hacks increase in magnitude and frequency, companies are less inclined to inform their user base, unless legally required to do so. The brand email suggesting a password reset, may just be their way of letting you know hackers are in their midst. Take the hint, and save yourself from any further damage.

Want to know what information may hackers target next? Check out this article on the next possible big hack attack.

avatarWritten by Kirsten Dunlaevy (193 Posts)

Kirsten Dunlaevy is a blogger for BullGuard. With a background in advertising and branding she is extremely familiar with the ups and downs of social media and the world of communication. Kirsten is here to educate you on how to navigate all things digital, in a safe and responsible manner. Her other passions are decidedly un-digital, she loves being out on the water and cooking.


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