The hacking of eBay accounts could be the largest in history.
In the spring of 2014, credit and debit card hacking became front-page news, as Target, Neiman Marcus and eBay found themselves victimized by criminals accessing information that was not theirs to see.
How pervasive was the attack upon American consumers?
According to Ponemon Institute researchers in a study conducted for CNN Money, 47 percent of all Americans had their personal information exposed through hacking of credit card or online purchase accounts in the last 12 months.
That does not mean 47 percent of all Americans had their accounts affected, only that the information was stolen and disseminated.
The actual percentages are difficult to know for sure because in two of the most high-profile hacking cases – AOL and eBay – the companies were not transparent about the details of their cyber-attacks. Ponemon Institute used information from the Identity Track Resource Center as well as details of investigations by CNN Money.
In most cases, the information that is retrieved can include name, email address, debit or credit card number, phone number, password, security questions and answers, birthday and a physical address.
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The major hacking events of the past 12 months include:
Target – 70 million customers’ personal information, as well as 40 million credit and debit card numbers.
Adobe – 33 million user identification details, plus 3.2 million credit and debit card numbers.
Snapchat – 4.6 million users’ account information.
Michaels – Three million credit cards used for payments.
Neiman-Marcus – 1.1 million credit cards used for payments.
AOL – A “significant number’’ of users’ account information.
eBay – Possibly all of eBay’s 148 million customers’ personal information.
The problem persists because everything is being done on-line these days, and hackers are becoming more sophisticated about their processes. Sometimes it takes months for a company to even know their information has been hacked.
“It’s become more acute,’’ said Larry Ponemon, head of the Ponemon Institute. “If you’re not a data breach victim, you’re not paying attention.”
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.