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7 Worst Data Leaks Of All Time


Today, most of our data resides on the internet, but, with that being said, this sensitive data of ours is also at risk of breaches and leaks. Here are some of the worst data leaks of all time.

- Updated: 5th Jul 2023, 11:10 IST
  • 1
    What are Some of the Top Data Leaks of All Time?
    • 1. Facebook’s 2019 Leak
    • 2. Marriott’s 2018 Leak
    • 3. Aadhaar Leak
    • 4. Yahoo’s Massive Breach
    • 5. LinkedIn’s Leak in 2021 
    • 6. 2013’s MySpace Leak
    • 7. Dubsmash’s 2018 Leak

With today’s world being ever dependent on the internet and its data, the chances of a data breach occurring are higher than usual. These breaches might have happened to you, and, at a time, they may affect thousands of, if not millions, of users at a single time. Here, we enumerate to you some of the worst data leaks of all time.

The digitalisation of the world has resulted in a higher collection of data. But with this, there has been a  rise in data breaches over the world. The last few years have seen multiple big tech giants being subjected to breaches, with some of them impacting the masses. 

Having said all that, you might be wondering what the top data breaches are and, given their intensity, the number of users they have affected. So, here are a few of the worst data leaks to have ever occurred.

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What are Some of the Top Data Leaks of All Time?

There have been data leaks with varying degrees of effect. The best way to judge them is depending on the number of users impacted. With that being said, here are the worst data leaks of all time and the companies that have been a victim of these leaks.

1. Facebook’s 2019 Leak

Facebook’s 2019 Leak

The first data leak on our list comes in relation to the popular social media giant, Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg’s company was revealed to have been subject to a data exploit in April 2019. Over 530 million users were impacted, with key details being leaked. These included account names, mobile numbers as well as other sensitive information.

A few years later, in 2021, the data was released on the internet for free. It was revealed at the time that the amount of mobile numbers leaked was much higher in comparison to the amount of email IDs leaked.

2. Marriott’s 2018 Leak

Marriott’s 2018 Leak

The next data breach impacted the famed hotel brand, Marriott International. The firm revealed back in 2018 that important details of around 500,000 Starwood visitors were leaked. This was after an attack in September of the same year. 

An alert was sent from an internal security system which helped control the severity of the issue. However, it was unveiled that this had been going on since 2014, which was a revelation. 

The data leaked included names, email IDs, passport IDs, DoBs, and the gender of users. Furthermore, departure-related information was also available. It is worth noting that sensitive data like Credit Card numbers were encrypted, meaning they were spared from this leak.

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3. Aadhaar Leak

Aadhaar Data Leak

This one is for our Indian readers. In 2018, it was reported that the world’s biggest database of IDs, Aadhaar, was subject to leaks. This revealed sensitive information of about 1.1 billion citizens of the nation was leaked. Details such as names, addresses, phone numbers and email IDs were leaked. 

Aadhar card data leak

Add to this data such as iris scans and fingerprints, biometric data necessary for Aadhaar being leaked making this one of the world’s largest data leaks. India’s UIDAI revealed that the details were accessed through Indane’s website, which, for those unaware is a government-owned company. 

4. Yahoo’s Massive Breach

Yahoo’s Massive Data Breach

Ranking 1st on the list of the worst data leaks of all time is Yahoo’s data breach back in 2013. The company revealed the severity of the breach in 2016. This came almost three years after the breach originally occurred. At the time of the reveal, the company was undergoing an ownership change, with this information surfacing during this shift.

Three billion users were reported to have been affected. Yahoo added that it was also sending emails to additional users who may or may not have been targeted by the breach. All of this reduced the price at which Verizon, a popular Telecom service in the USA acquired the mailing giant. 

5. LinkedIn’s Leak in 2021 

LinkedIn’s Leak in 2021 

The next entry on our list is in relation to the professional networking site LinkedIn. The breach occurred in 2021. Over 700 million users were targeted, with their details being posted on a forum on the dark web in June of 2021. For those curious, this meant that around 90% of the users of the popular networking site were affected.

The hacker in charge of this breach, going by the moniker God User apparently made use of data scraping ways in relation to APIs. They also stated that they had access to the entirety of the 700 million customer’s data. It was revealed that they also intended to sell it. When LinkedIn challenged the same, a piece of data revealed showcased sensitive data having been leaked as part of this breach.

6. 2013’s MySpace Leak

2013’s MySpace worst data leaks

Our older readers undoubtedly have heard of or even used MySpace. The fallen social media giant was in the news back in 2016. This came after a revelation of the site having been impacted by a data breach, with over 360 million users’ accounts having been targeted and leaked. 

The Real Deal, a hacker who organised this breach asked for a ransom of a few thousand dollars in the form of bitcoin. As per the company, the data lost to this breach consisted of sensitive information. This included details like usernames, passwords, and Email IDs of users who created an account before June 2013.

7. Dubsmash’s 2018 Leak

Dubsmash’s 2018 Leak

The last feature on our list is Dubsmash, the service that took users by storm in the late 2010s due to its TikTok-esque features before the time of TikTok and Instagram Reels. Despite its popularity, the NYC-based video-messaging application was subject to a leak of passwords, DoBs and other details in 2018.

Dubsmash did admit to this event occurring, with a sale of this information also happening on the dark web, with the platform providing tips for saving their accounts by changing passwords, but they did not mention what caused the breach.

These were some of the worst data leaks of all time. Other popular brands like Adobe, NetEase and Equifax have also been subject to some of the worst attacks of all time. Yahoo has also been affected multiple times, which might raise some alarms, despite these occurrences being years ago.

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