Identity Theft Protection

5 Noteworthy Breaches of 2018

Dec 18, 2018

By the end of 2005, there were less than 200 data breaches reported in the U.S. At the end of 2017, the number of data breaches was almost 1,600.

As we wrap up 2018, we don’t yet have a final tally of breaches for this year, and with new data breaches announced almost weekly, we may not be able to get an accurate count until we officially turn the calendar over into January. But as of July this year, the number was already over 600 data breaches, and we’ve counted plenty more since then.

We know the frequency of newly reported breaches doesn’t appear to be slowing, and we often remind people of best practices. Although there were no shortage of breaches in 2018, here are five of the most notable:

Marriott Starwood

Industry: Hospitality
Number affected: 500 million customers
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Industry: Social media
Number affected: 330 Million users
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Under Armour My Fitness Pal

Industry: Health and fitness
Number affected: 150 Million users
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Industry: Tech
Number affected: 100 million users
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Industry: Retail
Number affected: 5 million users
Read more

What’s a breach?

When an unauthorized party (aka cybercriminals) bypasses security measures to reach protected areas of a system, that’s called a security breach. In some cases, intruders can access valuable personal information, such as customer’s personal information like passwords, Social Security numbers, email addresses, etc. If a cybercriminal then steals that information, or when a company negligently exposes that data, it’s considered a data breach. That information is then often sold on the Dark Web and can be used to commit crimes such as identity theft.

We can’t prevent security or data breaches. And since your personal information is in a lot of places, it’s better to be proactive and take steps – before, during, and after – to help protect yourself.

Three steps to help protect yourself:

  1. Be careful. Your personal information has value so share a little as possible. Guard key identifiers like your Social Security number.

  2. Be proactive. When a security breach happens, it’s important to know what personal data was exposed and what you should do to help protect yourself. This might include changing passwords on your accounts, freezing your credit reports, and considering an identity theft protection service, before identity theft happens, to help manage any potential fallout.

  3. Be vigilant. Here’s the thing: If your personal information is stolen, you could face the consequences now or later – much later. Charges could appear on an account immediately. But often stolen information doesn’t appear for sale on the dark web until months or years after a data breach. Regularly checking your credit reports is a good idea, but it might not be enough. Enlisting the help of an identity theft protection service can help monitor for uses of your information and offer restoration services to assist you in getting your identity – and your life – back in order.

What else can you do?

Norton has an email breach detection tool. It’s easy and free. Just type your email address into the search and we’ll tell you if we detected your email address on the Dark Web.  

Victim of a data breach? LifeLock monitors for identity theft and threats.

Norton joined forces with LifeLock, we offer a comprehensive digital safety solution that helps protect your devices, connections and identity.

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Editorial note: Our articles provide educational information for you. NortonLifeLock offerings may not cover or protect against every type of crime, fraud, or threat we write about. Our goal is to increase awareness about cyber safety. Please review complete Terms during enrollment or setup. Remember that no one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime, and that LifeLock does not monitor all transactions at all businesses.

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