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The year of the breach: Worst attacks in 2014

By now, data breaches are old news. Let’s face it: More than a few big name companies have experienced what it feels like to be in hackers’ crosshairs. What’s more is that many consumers have also felt the fallout from these attacks, whether this means having to change their passwords or request a new debit or credit card.

But we keep hearing about businesses and their troubles with online cybercriminals. The fact of the matter is that breaches have become much more common these days, and it shows just how much companies need better data management solutions.

This year, almost half – 43 percent – of enterprises suffered a data breach, according to research from the Ponemon Institute. USA Today reported that not only are successful hacks taking place more often, but the attacks themselves are growing in size and scope. Let’s take a look at some of the worst breaches seen this year:

Michaels breach affects 3 million customers
Michaels was just one of many companies that fell victim to a data breach this year. In the case of the craft store chain, hackers were able to make off with the credit and debit information of 3 million customers. But the damage didn’t end there. Cybercriminals also hit a Michaels subsidiary, Aaron Brothers art framing, where they stole an additional 400,000 client payment records, MSN reported. This was the store’s second breach over a three-year period, and included the use of a highly sophisticated malware sample to infiltrate the system.

eBay’s flawed website leads to breach
Another high-profile breach that took place in 2014 involves the leading online auction website eBay. According to Forbes, a flaw in the company’s website redirected users to malicious sites when they clicked on certain listings. As a result, members were exposed to malware for several months before repairing the issue.

In addition to the malicious listings, hackers also stole a range of user information including usernames, email addresses and passwords, forcing eBay to encourage its 145 million customers to change their authentication credentials. This was an embarrassing and dangerous situation for the company and its auction participants.

Home Depot breach: Bigger than Target
In recent months, the poster boy for data breaches had been Target, as the retail giant suffered one of the largest leaks ever seen at the end of 2013. That may change in the wake of the Home Depot breach, which compromised 56 million payment cards, Forbes stated. The Target breach, on the other hand, impacted 40 million cards. Similar to the Michaels breach, this attack also included the use of malware installed on the store’s payment system. Customers didn’t seem deterred, however, as Home Depot reported an increase in profits in the third quarter of the year.

In many cases, the risk of a data breach can be considerably mitigated with the use of proper data management strategies. A complete, end-to-end information storage and management system can help administrators keep a watchful eye over their mission-critical data and ensure that it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

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