Home > Identity Theft > A Look Back at 2018 Data Breaches

Comments 0 Comments

While recent data breaches may not have cost you any money, the same can’t be said about the companies that were breached. It’s estimated that data breaches cost companies an average of $3.5 million. If you look at data breaches case by case, you’ll see they can cost individual companies a lot more in terms of both money and public relations. The Yahoo data breach of 2013 was one of the biggest corporate data breaches of all time. Over 3 billion accounts affected. It cost the company over $100 million.

A Look Back at 2018 Data Breaches

We’re going to take a quick look at the most recent data breaches. If you were affected by a data breach, there are steps you can take to protect your information.

 Quora Breach

Breach announced: December 3, 2018

Number of accounts affected: 100 million user accounts

The question and answer platform recently announced that about 100 million user accounts had been compromised when they discovered a malicious third party in their computer systems. The company quickly stated that this breach was not likely going to lead to any cases of identity theft since users don’t share any sensitive information such as Social Security numbers or credit card details. The breach is still a reminder that sensitive personal information is vulnerable to malicious third parties.

Marriott Starwood Breach

Breach announced: November 30, 2018

Number of accounts affected: 500 million user accounts

Marriott International, which is a conglomerate of hotels that include W Hotels and the Sheraton, recently announced that it had suffered a data breach that affected up to 500 million client accounts. This breach had been ongoing from 2014 to September of 2018. The sensitive clientele information compromised included:

  • Names
  • Email addresses
  • Passport numbers
  • Phone numbers
  • Dates of birth
  • Arrival and departure information
  • Starwood Preferred Guest account information
  • Reservation dates and communication preferences

The breach also affected encrypted payment card numbers and expiration dates. Because this information is enough for hackers to commit identity theft, Marriott customers have been advised to change their passwords and be on the lookout for any fishy activity on their credit card accounts.

Facebook Breach

Breach announced: September 28, 2018

Number of accounts affected: 50 million user accounts

The social media platform announced that over 50 million user accounts might have been compromised by hackers. While Facebook says that they’re not sure whether the hackers accessed any sensitive information, they urged their users to keep an eye out for unusual activity. They also reset over 90 million accounts, requiring users to change their passwords.

Panera Bread Breach

Breach announced: April 2018

Number of accounts affected: more than 7 million customers

Panera Bread announced that hackers had compromised their “MyPanera” loyalty program and that sensitive customer data may have been compromised. The information stolen included:

  • Names
  • Dates of birth
  • Physical addresses
  • Last four digit of user credit card numbers

Panera Bread disputes the exact number of customers that may have been affected by the breach. Researchers estimate the number of customers affected is in the millions, not thousands. Users have been advised to keep a lookout for phishing emails.

MyFitnessPal Breach

Breach announced: March 29, 2018

Number of accounts affected: 150 million user accounts

Under Armor’s MyFitnessPal announced that about 150 million user accounts had been compromised by hackers. The company says that information such as diet, step counts and payment data may not have been affected. However, they do believe that the hackers took usernames, passwords and email addresses. Users have been advised to change passwords and to look out for phishing emails.

Even though many of these companies believe that sensitive payment information may not have been affected by these breaches, customers should pay close attention to their credit card activities. They should also be on the lookout for phishing emails. Phishing usually appear to be emails coming from the company asking users to provide sensitive information like passwords or account information. However, companies do not ask their users for this type of information.

Keeping Your Personal Information More Secure

You may be wondering how you can help keep your personal information safe online. Hackers are getting smarter as technology improves.

Here are some things you can do to improve the security of your personal data online:

  • Don’t completely fill out your social media profiles. The more information you share on these platforms, the easier it is for hackers to scam you using a phishing email.
  • Be careful when providing your Social Security Number. The only people who should need your SSN are your bank, lenders, and the credit bureaus.
  • Turn on private browsing. This can help keep your history safe from prying eyes, especially when you shop online.
  • Use passwords for everything. Make sure that your electronics require a password for data security. Secure all login credentials. Also, use different passwords for all accounts and make sure that they’re tough to crack.
  • Use two-factor authentication. Use this for the platforms you frequent the most. With this authentication, once you log-in, the system will require a special one-time code that is sent to your phone. This ensures that it’s you trying to access the account and not someone else.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve been a victim of a data breach, there are other steps you can take to protect your credit. Many companies have offered free identity theft monitoring to victims of these breaches. If you think you’ve been a victim of a data breach, contact the company to see if they’re offering identity theft monitoring.

It’s also a good idea to pull your credit reports to make sure you haven’t been a victim of identity theft. You can access your credit reports every 12 months for free at annualcreditreport.com. Or you can sign up with Credit.com to monitor your credit. We offer two free credit scores and a credit report card which is a summary of your credit report.

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other sponsored content on Credit.com are Partners with Credit.com. Credit.com receives compensation if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any financial products or cards offered.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.



Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team