5 Biggest Password Breaches in History

5 Biggest Password Breaches in History

Written by Deepak Bhagat, In Cybersecurity, Technology, Published On
December 8, 2021


Did you know that 60% of victims had reused the same password across more than one platform? Password breaches are becoming more and more common. That’s why having unique and updated passwords are so important today.

It’s not always easy to keep up with the latest password breach because they happen so often. Have you had a leaked password? Are you aware of past and recent password breaches and who they affect?

The following guide will fill you in on the biggest password breaches. You may discover there are potentially breached passwords of yours in the hands of criminals. Read on to learn more about this destructive form of cybercrime.

5 Biggest Password Breaches in History

  • Nintendo 2020

In April of 2020, Nintendo announced that 160,000 user accounts, emails, and password lists were compromised. The exposed data also included the names, age, gender, and country of customers.

The company advised users to start using two-factor authentication to enhance security and protect their accounts. Luckily, the breach didn’t leak any credit card information.

  • Yahoo 2013

An anonymous group gained access to 3 billion Yahoo accounts in 2013. The breach caused Yahoo $350 million during their sale negotiations with Verizon.

The stolen data included names, age, emails, passwords, and answers to security questions.

Yahoo speculates that the attack by hackers was state-funded. The Department of Justice suggests that the Russian Federal Security Service initiated the data breach.

  • Office of Personnel Management 2015

In June 2015, the US Office of Personnel Management announced that they had fallen victim to a data breach. The breach exposed 22 million records such as government employees’ records and background check records.

It is one of the largest government data breaches in US history. This was another example that a team password manager is crucial to all offices including government offices.

  • Mariott 2020

In March of 2020, Marriott announced a data exposure of 5.2 million guests. The hackers first gained access to the credentials of two Mariott employees. Then they used those stolen credentials to carry out the breach.

The breach compromised guests’ phone numbers, emails, jobs, and linked accounts. Marriott’s parent company, Starwood Hotels, suffered a breach just two years prior that exposed 500 million guests’ data.

  • Zoom 2020

Zoom’s 2020 breach exposed the credentials of over 500 million users. Hackers sold the data on the dark web and then other criminals used it to attend virtual meetings of users to steal even more information.

A credential stuffing attack was responsible for the breach. AI essentially guesses passwords to carry out this type of attack. Zoom blamed the attack’s severity on users creating weak passwords and recycled passwords.

Prevent Password Breaches

Now you know about some of the largest password breaches in recent history. Change your passwords regularly and try not to reuse passwords more than once. Consider password generators and 2-step verification.

Try to keep up with current breaches and react accordingly. Taking fast action will help prevent you from being a victim of increasing cybercrime. Check out our blog for more helpful guides and helpful tips for cybersecurity.

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