2015 was a tumultuous year for data breaches. Between the infamous Ashley Madison hack and millions of customers being affected by a security breach for Blue Cross Blue Shield, the public learned a lot about its security in the hands of some of the biggest companies in the country. We’ve broken down the top 10 security breaches this year and where they are now. Here are the final five:
- Harvard University. In June, Harvard University discovered that it was hacked for the second time in four months. This time, it was its Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Central Administration IT networks that impacted eight schools and administrative organizations. Harvard encouraged students and faculty to update their passwords, believing the hackers had access to login information.
- T-Mobile. In October, T-Mobile revealed that its data had been breached via Experian, who had conducted credit checks on potential customer. This hack affected 15 million of T-Mobile’s customers who underwent these credit checks, exposing such sensitive data such as names, addresses, Social Security Numbers, birth dates and passport numbers. Both T-Mobile and Experian said that the hack didn’t involve any credit card or banking information, but the affected data is still enough for thefts. In light of the breach, T-Mobile has put all responsibility on Experian and its security efforts.
- Blue Cross Blue Shield. In a year rife with health care organizations facing the evils of security breaches, Blue Cross BlueShield got hit the worst. Its New York provider, Excellus, became the victim of a hack that leaked 10 million records in its database. When Excellus investigated the hack, which they discovered in August, they found out the information had been breached back in December in 2013. While the identities of the hackers remain unknown, the provider knows that names, birth dates, Social Security Numbers and mailing addresses were all accessed by the them. Premera, another BlueCross provider, was also attacked in March, affecting 11 million of its customers. A month prior to that, a breach on Anthem’s data revealed personal data of approximately 80 million people. So far, the company plans to reach out to victims and investigate the source of the cyber attacks.
- Office of Personnel Management. In June, the Office of Personnel Management was targeted by hackers in a breach that affected the records of 21.5 million people, making it one of the biggest breaches of government data. Hackers were able to access Social Security Numbers, names, birth dates and addresses stored in the database. To help repair the damage, OPM offered free credit monitoring to the victims. The Obama administration put forth a plan that would require the agency to boost its security as well as include credit monitoring as a basic employee benefit.
- Ashley Madison. The Ashley Madison hack quickly became the most infamous of 2015 when it exposed 37 million users. The site, which is a dating service for extramarital affairs, naturally stirred a lot of controversy, especially when the names of its account holders were released by hackers. While the hack didn’t involve any sort of identity theft, it did besmirch a lot of reputations and taught a valuable lesson in the fragility of Internet anonymity and security.
If you’re concerned about protecting your identity, invest in a credit monitoring service that can alert you of certain activity that may indicate fraud. This way you can know when to take action to prevent further damage to your credit or take steps to further protect your identity.