Top 10 Major Data Leaks of Recent Years

The past decade has broken all records for cybercrime. Hacker attacks have led to data leakage of mobile applications, social networks, web services, and banks. This global problem affects individuals, large corporations, and sometimes entire states. 

Previously, we’ve written about big cybersecurity fails in 2021. You can read about them here.

Information security is becoming the most relevant and in-demand area. The transition to remote work formats, the use of cloud servers, and the introduction of 5G devices have made data more vulnerable to hacking.

We have prepared for you a list of the 10 largest data leaks in recent years that have damaged companies and changed the direction of development in the information space.

The list of fails of modern messengers is here.

Major world data leaks on the internet

1. Cybercriminals profit from coronavirus

The attackers could not ignore the pandemic. Cybercriminals distributed messages with malicious links on behalf of the WHO, created fake charity events (for example, for the benefit of Chinese children from disadvantaged families), and promoted non-existent shops selling masks and antiseptics.

Cybercriminals profit from coronavirus

The last of the frauds in February 2020 alone brought the attackers more than $1 million. And this is in the UK alone.

How can you protect your work during coronavirus? Read more here.

2. Cybercriminals hacked the Twitter accounts of Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Elon Musk, and Apple

In July 2020, followers of the Twitter accounts of Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Kanye West, Apple, and Uber noticed strange activity in their feed. In each of these accounts, entries appeared that urged users to transfer bitcoins for subsequent benefits. 

Allegedly, the senders would be sent currency in double the amount. The account owners promptly deleted the malicious publications, but before that about $104,000 dollars were received in the accounts of cybercriminals. According to the preliminary results of the Twitter investigation, the attackers gained access to the accounts through the company’s employees.

Various conspiracy theories about Bill Gates have been collected in this article.

3. NotPetya eraser virus

In the summer of 2017, the NotPetya virus attacked companies worldwide. Malware erased data from hard drives without the possibility of recovery. In the United States, losses from the NotPetya cyberattack were estimated at $10 billion. 

NotPetya eraser virus

Ukraine suffered more than other countries, where the virus affected up to 10% of the memory of all corporate computers. The motives for creating and spreading the eraser virus are still unknown.

4. Ashley Madison user data leak

Ashley Madison is a rather unusual web resource. This is an online dating service for people who are already married or in a relationship. In other words, this is a site for those looking for an affair on the side.

In 2015, the hacker group The Impact Team said that if the site is not closed, hackers will publish the personal data of its users. The administration refused to close the site, and soon 60 GB of data about Ashley Madison users got onto the internet. 

It was a list of people who cheated or planned to cheat on their partners. It is not known for certain how many couples split up as a result. However, as a result of this leak, at least one person committed suicide in August 2015.

Know more about data protection in dating apps here.

5. “Draining” the data of 77 million Sony PlayStation users

In 2011, one of the most global attacks on users’ personal data in internet history occurred. Cybercriminals seized the personal data and credit card numbers of 77 million Sony Playstation users. In response, the company turned off access to its services during the investigation for almost a month. As a result of the incident, the company’s legal costs exceeded $171 million.

6. A cybercriminal from Lithuania lured $123 million from Google and Facebook

In the spring of 2017, a cybercriminal from Lithuania conducted a phishing attack on Google and Facebook. The fraud was based on using electronic messages to impersonate a vendor to the companies. 

A cybercriminal from Lithuania lured $123 million

The cybercriminal posed as Taiwanese company Quanta Computer and persuaded the companies to send payments to accounts that he controlled, even forging invoices and contracts. In the end, the scammer was imprisoned, and Google and Facebook managed to return some funds to their accounts. But it is unknown how much of the $123 million.

7. Edward Snowden’s revelations

It is impossible to talk about information leaks without mentioning Edward Snowden, the former US National Security Agency (NSA) officer. In 2013, Snowden handed over thousands of documents to journalists telling how the secret services monitor almost everything. Security experts consider this incident to be the largest security breach in recent history.

Snowden’s documents showed that the NSA collects data on citizens’ phone calls. It also revealed the existence of the PRISM program, through which the Agency received information about users of Google, Facebook, and Apple. In addition, details of NSA surveillance of leaders of other states became known.

8. Draining Yahoo user data

In 2013, hackers gained access to all 3 billion Yahoo accounts. Hackers received names, dates of birth, phone numbers, email addresses, hashed passwords, and questions and answers for password recovery. At the same time, they were unable to obtain credit card information.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) fined Yahoo $35 million for the massive leak of user data.

The fine will have to be paid by Altana, which owns the remaining part of Yahoo after the corporation’s core business was sold to telecom operator Verizon.

According to the regulator, Yahoo failed to investigate this incident properly.

9. Data leak of 145 million eBay user accounts

In May 2014, due to a hacker attack, the data of 145 million eBay user accounts were leaked.

Data leak of eBay accounts

The company recommended that customers immediately change their passwords, noting that this information was among the stolen data.

Nevertheless, eBay notes that there were no facts of attacks on user accounts: all the stolen passwords were encrypted, and to use them, it is necessary to decrypt them.

Among the stolen information was data such as “names, encrypted passwords, email addresses, physical addresses, phone numbers and dates of birth of eBay customers.”

10. The drain of personal data of German politicians

At the end of December 2019, the personal data of German politicians, including Angela Merkel, appeared online. Passports, credit card details, addresses, phone numbers, and internal party correspondence were put on public display. The drain of data also affected cultural figures and journalists — in total 994 people were affected.

Federal agencies were investigating the incident. However, the reason for the cyberattack has not been established; the perpetrators have not been found.

How to protect yourself

It is not difficult to become a victim of cybercriminals in today’s information chaos. To prevent this from happening, follow a few simple but effective rules.

  • Do not share your data with unverified organizations.
  • Do not open suspicious emails and links.
  • Check the data of companies and organizations.
  • Look for reviews on the internet: this can help identify scammers.
How to protect yourself from data leaks

Learn more working rules here.


The development of information technology inevitably affects the development of hacking and new methods of data theft, and almost all companies are exposed to threats to their information security. Nowadays, it is important to have information security tools in place to ensure data security and prevent all potential attacks. 

Utopia P2P ensures online security and confidentiality for each user. It is a decentralized ecosystem without censorship, surveillance, hacker attacks, or data leaks. Several tools provide a full range of functions in the ecosystem, such as a messenger, email, browser, internal cryptocurrency, and more.

Learn more about Utopia P2P here.


Leave a Reply

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.