Tracking Hacking: Visualizing The World's Biggest Data Breaches

The graphic below shows a timeline of some of the biggest data breaches on record. As Visual Capitalist's Chris Matei notes, each bubble represents the number of records lost in any given breach, with the most sensitive data clustered toward the right side.

This data visualization comes to us from Information is Beautiful. Go to their site to see the highly-recommended interactive format that visualizes the same data, while providing additional details on each specific hack.

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist


Before 2009, the majority of data breaches were the fault of human errors like misplaced hard drives and stolen laptops, or the efforts of “inside men” looking to make a profit by selling data to the highest bidder. Since then, the volume of malicious hacking (shown in purple) has exploded relative to other forms of data loss.


Increasingly sophisticated hacking has altered the scale of data loss by orders of magnitude. For example, an “inside job” breach at data broker Court Ventures was once one of the world’s largest single losses of records at 200 million.

However, it was eclipsed in size shortly thereafter by malicious hacks at Yahoo in 2013 and 2014 that compromised over 1.5 billion records, and now larger hacks are increasingly becoming the norm.


The problems caused by hacks, leaks and other data breaches are not just ones of scale. For example, the accidental 2016 leak of information from spam/email marketing service River City Media stands out at an alarming 1.37 billion records lost. However, sorting by data sensitivity paints a different picture. The River City leak – represented by the larger blue dot below – is surpassed in severity by hacks at Yahoo, at web design platform Weebly, and even at adult video provider Brazzers.

Much of the data lost in the River City hack was made up of long lists of consumer email addresses to be used for spam email distribution, while the other hacks listed compromised items like account passwords, banking information, addresses, phone numbers, or health records. While having your email address become the target for spam exploitation is a serious annoyance, the hacking of much more sensitive personal data has quickly become the norm.

The fact that more and more of our data is being stored “in the cloud” and among devices on the Internet of Things means that increasingly sensitive types of data are now more vulnerable than ever to being hacked. This looks to be even more cause for concern than the rapidly rising volume of records that have been exposed, whether intentionally or by accident.


fannyplucker Sat, 06/10/2017 - 21:23 Permalink

Yahoo's is the biggest hack. So, what? Marissa Meyer pocketed huge amount in her tenure and on exit. This is without any positive impact on the company.

Praeda2 07564111 Sun, 06/11/2017 - 16:07 Permalink

Garbage comment by a dummy who doesn't know there hasn't been a public breach of a bank let alone one whose number would qualify it for this list. Fuck are there some stupid cunts here. Why are you even here? You don't own anything let alone any equities, just poor as shit Americunt whose going to die broke.

In reply to by 07564111

. . . _ _ _ . . . Sat, 06/10/2017 - 21:43 Permalink

"Since then, the volume of malicious hacking (shown in purple) has exploded relative to other forms of data loss."And you were expecting... less??Just wait 'til the drones start getting hacked. Gonna' be a brand new renaissance, that will.

Atomizer Sat, 06/10/2017 - 23:56 Permalink

Catch me if you can. If you don't sign up, they can't find you. Secondly, manage certification, SSL/TLS, use VNP. I just went apeshit on VRBO. Owner side platform. Two day's ago. Expedia bought out VRBO, its now turned into a pile of worthless cunts running the corporate show. They are data mining. Told them to stop this fucking shit. You have no business in asking questions about a person renting my home. I pay you to advertise. It seem to be suspended. Nothing on new inquiry today. Current CityWhere will you be traveling from?Verify nowFacebook VerificationSign in with Facebook to gain verificationVerify nowAbout meTell the owner a little about you!Verify now 

any_mouse Sun, 06/11/2017 - 00:08 Permalink

Try breaches are correlated to mass of identity data collected.

Stop collecting identifying data.

Anonymize data before storage.

Or accept that just as everyone can see your twits, they can see everything else about you.

The true high cost of the Uber app? Before you sign up they tell you that your phone number will be used for marketing purposes as Uber sees fit.

It is good on Uber's part the policy is upfront on the current page and clearly stated, not a check box that says you clicked on a link to over-sized T&C document and that you understand and agree with the T&C.

It's a sharing economy party, and you're the drunk girl pulling the train.