RANKED! The 10 Most Destructive Hacks in American History
Hacks are never as cool or funny as they seemed in goofy ’90s movies starring Angelina Jolie. Case in point: Twitter and how exposed the data and DMs of its users are. Joe Biden, Barak Obama, Elon Musk and three dozen other famous Twitter accounts got hijacked on July 15. The hackers pushed a bizarre Bitcoin scam, as well as demands for an end to the Fast & Furious franchise. They netted $120,000 according to The Verge. Vin Diesel didn’t respond as he is currently method acting as a tree for the next Guardians of the Galaxy film.
JK about the F&F part. As if they weren’t bad enough, it turns out the hackers are huge Hobbs & Shaw fans. The hack is a major embarrassment for the tech company, as well as the three dozen or so high-profile users. Even more disturbing is the revelation over 1,000 people had access to most Twitter accounts. While some neckbeard in SF could be sharing your embarrassing DMs on the dark web, it could be worse. We review 10 of the most destructive and embarrassing hacks in American history.
Cover Photo: Knk Phl Prasan Kha Philbuly / EyeEm (Getty Images)
10. Sony Pictures in 2014
While the hack of Sony Pictures in 2014 didn’t expose huge numbers of users, it did reveal tons of sensitive info—including reams of cringey emails, unreleased scripts, and saw much of the company's data wiped as well. The crazy hermit state of North Korea is the likely culprit given the threats made regarding the film The Interview, though maybe Kim Jong-un should've just left a nasty review on Rotten Tomatoes.
9. Target in 2013
With a name like Target, it’s no surprise the retailer was the victim of a major hack. What is surprising is how the company lied and tried to cover up that up to 40 million credit and debit cards were exposed, leading Target to pay out $18.5 million as a consequence.
8. Adobe in 2013
In 2013, Adobe’s security went to pieces like Humpty Dumpty after one too many eggnogs. Not only were more than 150 million users exposed, but millions of credit card numbers were snagged too.
7. eBay in 2014
While some hacks are just embarrassing, others cause drained bank accounts, identity theft, or icky blackmail schemes like from Black Mirror. While no users had to copulate with a pig when all 145 million eBay users had their data exposed in 2014, many saw their personal data hanging out in bad parts of the internet for years afterward.
6. Zynga in 2019
If you love the addictive mobile games Words with Friends or Draw Something, then you may have had your info compromised by a breach of Zynga’s data in September of 2019. Some 218 million players were impacted and had their Facebook, email and other digital accounts exposed too, which makes us check if we have the letters to spell "uninstall."
5. Starwood Hotels from 2014 through 2016
If you think bed bugs, backed-up toilets or a 4 a.m. leaf-blower was the worst part of your last hotel stay, then think again. Marriott acquired Starwood in 2016, later admitting Starwood’s janky security exposed over a quarter of a billion people’s data, including passport numbers.
4. Adult FriendFinder in 2016
Swingers, cheaters and those just looking for love or lust had their sexual preferences and kinks laid bare in 2016, when data from 412 million users was exposed. Considering the number of dick pics likely included, we really do mean exposed.
3. River City Media in 2016
What’s worse than a company clogging your inbox with spam? How about that same company—River City Media—leaking 1.4 billion records they’d secretly gathered, including names, emails and even home addresses.
2. Equifax in 2017
Though the hack of Equifax, a consumer credit rating agency, only affected 143 million users, the data taken was the most important, including social security numbers, driver’s license numbers and passport info. Ironically, the company dedicated to keeping regular people honest about their finances ended up lying and covering up the breach, which led to a whopping $425 million payout.
1. Yahoo! In 2016
Yahoo! is mostly known as the email service your great-grandparents use, but it’s also responsible for what is possibly the biggest data breach in human history. In 2016, three billion users had their accounts compromised, and even worse, the company totally lied about it, leading to a $117.5 million payout the next year as the result of a class-action lawsuit.
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