World's Biggest Data Breaches

World’s Biggest Data Breaches and Hacks: Cybersecurity Trends

Here’s a terrific interactive resource from Information is Beautiful – the world’s biggest data breaches and hacks of over 30,000 records since all the way back in 2004!

As covered by Sharon Nelson in her excellent Ride the Lightning blog (The World’s Biggest Data Breaches, Beautifully Illustrated), the interactive infographic (say that five times fast!) shows a number of different sized circles from 2022 on down all the way to 2004, when AOL had (what was a massive data breach at the time) of 92 million records when a former AOL software engineer stole that many screen names and email addresses and sold them to spammers who sent up to 7 billion unsolicited emails (thanks a lot!).

You might think the SolarWinds hack from December 2020 is one of the biggest hacks ever at 50 million records breached. That’s nothing – heck, between September 2019 and March 2021, Facebook had 953 million records breached in two large breaches!


Hover over any circle in the infographic and you can get details about the data breach and even click to read more about it! Even the tiniest circles get big when you hover over them to tell you about the breach and how many records were lost (approximately). You can also filter the list by sector or breach method or search by company (e.g., Facebook has three other breaches, taking them over 1 billion reported records breached overall).

As you can imagine, there aren’t that many breaches reported for 2022 yet. Doesn’t mean they haven’t happened – they may simply have not been discovered yet.

It’s really telling how much smaller and far apart the circles get the further you go down in the list – it really illustrates how the threats to your data are only getting worse, not better.

Below the year-by-year infographic of the world’s biggest data breaches and hacks, there’s also a second infographic which sorts the interactive circles by data sensitivity (email addresses, personal details/passwords, credit cards/banking, health/personal data and full/sensitive details). That list of the world’s biggest data breaches and hacks may be even more enlightening!


Sharon gave a hat tip to Jeffrey Brandt, so I will too! Information is Beautiful! Check it out here!

So, what do you think? Were you surprised by any of the world’s biggest data breaches and hacks? Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by my employer, my partners or my clients. eDiscovery Today is made available solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Today should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

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