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May 22, 2014updated 22 Sep 2016 11:28am

Top 6 commercial data breaches

With eBay becoming the latest target, what other cyberattacks shook the consumer world recently?

By Ben Sullivan

In the past year, security breaches have hit the mainstream with multiple global attacks revealing sensitive information from millions of customer accounts. The latest victim to one of these attacks is eBay, which yesterday admitted that over 200 million of its users may be at risk because of a data breach.

Here are the six largest cyberattacks to happen against commercial firms over the past 12 months.

Yahoo Japan

In May 2013, Yahoo Japan announced a large data breach that affected 22 million accounts. The attack exposed login names to attackers.


"We don’t know if the file [containing 22 million user IDs] was leaked or not, but we can’t deny the possibility, given the volume of traffic between our server and external terminals," read a statement issued by Yahoo Japan.


In October 2013, 38 million customers’ account information was obtained by hackers. Adobe initially reported a breach of 2.8 million, but the figure was then increased to 28 million.

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The cyber security breach, reported on 03 October, saw hackers accessing Adobe users’ names in addition to credit and debit card numbers and expiration dates.


Online deals firm LivingSocial reported a massive cyberattack on its computer systems last April, which affected over 50 million customers globally.

LivingSocial said that attack resulted in unauthorised access to some customer data from its servers and said it is now working with law enforcement to investigate the issue.

The company said the database that stores customer credit card information was not affected or accessed.

LivingSocial urged users to create a new password, even though the existing password might be difficult to decode.



In March 2013, note-taking service Evernote reported suspicious activity in its network which attempted to access secure areas of its service.

Evernote says there’s no evidence that shows payment information or content stored in Evernote was accessed or lots.


However, hackers were able to gain access to Evernote user information, which includes usernames, email addresses and encrypted passwords.

The company has decided to implement a password reset for 50 million users. Evernote assures that their password encryption measures are "robust" and protected by one-way encryption but the company is taking precautions by implementing a password reset for its 50 million users.


Towards the end of 2013, US retailer Target was struck by one of the biggest cyberattacks ever, compromising up to 40 million customer credit card details. Malware was also injected into the POS systems of over 1,800 stores.

The breach wasn’t reported until 19 December, and on 10 January 2014, Target said that a further 70 million customers had had their personal information stolen in the same attack.

The breach resulted in the resignation of Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel.



Announced yesterday, eBay’s security breach has revealed the personal information of over 200m customers.

In what may be the biggest ever commercial cyber attack to date, eBay said the breach was detected over two weeks ago but customers’ financial information was not at risk.

However, a database containing encrypted passwords as well as names, email addresses, physical addresses and phone numbers was compromised.

Over 14 million active eBay accounts are in use in the UK, with the total number of customer accounts worldwide reaching 233 million.

In a statement, eBay said the database was breached between late February and Early March. PayPal said that its service has not been affected and customers’ financial information is safe.



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