Yahoo, LinkedIn, Apple iCloud: 10 Big Data Breaches

Carphone Warehouse

In August 2015 phone retailer Carphone Warehouse suffered a cyber attack that compromised the credit card details, names and addresses of up to 2.4 million of its customers. Though the company managed to stop the attack the moment it detected it, a large number of its customers were put at risk and forced the Carphone Warehouse to contact potentially affected customers.

The result of the breach led to a tumbling in the company’s share price, showing that data breaches have a wider affect that just causing data loss for a targeted company.


In May a hacker tried to sell over 360 million MySpace user names and passwords on the dark web after the data was hacked through the decryption of the ShA1 algorithm. It is still unclear how the cyber criminals gained access to the mass of data, but it was one of the largest password leaks ever.

Many of the passwords were found to be simple sequential numbers and variations on the evergreen ‘password’ password, indicating that many users simply do not take much effort in thinking up challenging passwords.

Apple iCloud

Not technically one of the biggest hacks in terms of data breaches, the iCloud hack was arguably one of the largest profile breaches of 2014. It saw around 500 private pictures of celebrities leaked, including nude photos of Hollywood stars.

Rather than breach iCloud, hackers gained access to Apple’s cloud storage service through exploiting a security flaw in the iCloud API that gave them unlimited attempts at guessing the password of targeted accounts. The breach promoted major concerns about the safety of cloud storage, particularly in regards to storing sensitive and personal data in a public cloud.


The hack attack on TalkTalk in October 2015 saw the telecoms company hacked by four males aged between 15 and 20 years-old. It resulted in the details of 1.2 million customers being exposed and cause the company a massive £60 million in lost revenue and 101,000 subscribers to leave TalkTalk.

While there are larger breaches in terms of data loss, the TalkTalk hack had a vast impact on the company and indicated just how damaging a data breach can be on businesses without highly resilient cyber security defences.


The latest headline-making data breach has been the leak of account details of 500 million Yahoo users, following a hack that happened two years ago in 2014. Yahoo has been forced to prompt its affected users to change their security details, as well as take a look at its own cyber defences.

Furthermore, the vast data breach comes at a time when Yahoo is amidst the process of being purchased by Verizon for £3.7 billion, making it a PR escapade as well as data loss disaster.

The knock-on effects of the Yahoo attack looks to be causing problems for Sky and BT, demonstrating the wide-ranging impact big data breaches can have.

However, there is plenty of advice on offer from security experts on how to weather data leaks of this scale or avoid them from happening in the first place.

How well do you know network security? Try our quiz and find out!

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Roland Moore-Colyer

As News Editor of Silicon UK, Roland keeps a keen eye on the daily tech news coverage for the site, while also focusing on stories around cyber security, public sector IT, innovation, AI, and gadgets.

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