Top Data Breach Scares You Should Know As A Social Media User

Aug 23, 2019
by Digitalabs

Not So Fun Fact: Data breaches happen every day, and they're happening while you are currently reading this blog.
While logging in to our social media accounts every day, the last thing we think about is how vulnerable our privacy and security is. Various privacy related scandals proved that your personal data is often compromised (e.g. Cambridge Analytica- Facebook Incident in 2018) and improperly shared. 
Though sometimes, this information is used by third-party applications to run targeted advertising campaigns, the fact that it can also spark crimes in the virtual and real-world, can't be overruled.
We present to you some of the most significant data breaches that have taken place in the past few years that could have led your personal and financial data into malicious hands.

Biggest Data Breaches in recent history

Yahoo
3 billion accounts in 2013
Owned by Verizon, Yahoo admitted in 2017 that more than three billion accounts were breached in the year of 2013, exposing details like date of births, names, account passwords and phone numbers.
Alongside, the hackers got access to the backup e-mails and passwords as well! Finally, Yahoo got external forensic experts for additional investigations and updated new intelligence for probing further.
Google
500,000 accounts in 2018
One of the most famous and biggest multinational technology companies was in shackles due to the big data leak, which led to the shutdown of 500,000 accounts. The entire spin-off was sourced in a software bug from 2015 that was finally detected in 2018.
Google decided not to report this incident as it could 'trigger immediate regulatory interest'. This decision was made keeping Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google in the loop. Project Strobe, an internal security team, was formed. It scrutinised and analysed the privacy breach that took place both on Android and Gmail.
Facebook
50 million user accounts in 2018
One of the biggest data breaches ever happened to the Social Media Giant in 2018, where hackers attacked more than 50 million user accounts. This breach exposed even the smallest of details that were available in the accounts to the hackers. However, it's still unclear whether the exposed data includes private messages or if any of the data were ever misused.
Facebook faced multiple federal investigations into its privacy and data-sharing practices by the Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Trade Commission.
Marriott/Starwood
500 million guests in 2018
Hotel Giant Marriott International is responsible for breaching secure data of over 500 million guests in 2018, including their passport numbers, credit and debit card details as well as other personal data like identity cards. In this serious cyberattack, the Hotel Giant was fined almost £100 million. This is one of the biggest data breaches in recent history where hackers accessed the guest reservation database of Starwood, another hotel group acquired three years ago by Marriott.

How To Protect Yourself?

There are rough estimates of 3676 data breaches occurring in the first nine months of 2018, according to DarkReading. This is the second greatest in terms of data breaches which have been reported in a single year.
We won't sugarcoat it. If you cannot miss being present on social media, you also cannot avoid the chances of risking your personal information. However, you can always prepare for the impending crisis.
To reduce the threat of getting your information stolen, provide minimal information across the social channels. For added security, go for two-factor authentication. Never question your suspicion if an account or a message doesn't appear normal because there is a great possibility that it isn't, and could be a scam or a phishing attempt.
Taking these few extra steps for your social media account ensures you maintain a relatively safe distance from cyber thieves.

The Takeaway

Even the biggest institutions have succumbed to data breaches, teaching us that no one can be trusted on the cyberspace. Hackers often find loopholes and weaknesses, and the data records end up getting compromised. As a social media user, the most comprehensive security plan you can develop to avoid any catastrophe is not to overshare information.
You cannot prevent social media data breaches from happening, but you can restrict your vulnerability to falling prey to them.

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