2018 saw some excruciatingly expensive data breaches. From cryptocurrency heists to gaining unauthorized access to databases, breach events led to some serious consequences both in terms of finances and brand reputation. Here is the list of hacks and breaches that were extremely damaging to the pockets of both owners and investors of the companies involved.
Marriott Hotel: In November 2018, hotel chain Marriott International announced that records of its 500 million customers who had stayed at the Starwood division properties from 2014 to September 10, 2018 had been breached by Chinese attackers. The data stolen included customer information including passport numbers, emails, date of birth, gender and mailing addresses. Soon after the report came to surface, Marriott's US customers sued the hotel chain for 12.5 billion USD.
British Airways: In August, hackers managed to gain access to the user data who booked flights on the British Airways website and mobile application. Sensitive personal data such as passport information and credit card details including the CVV codes belonging to 380,000 customers were stolen between 21 August and 5 September 2018. Under the GDPR provisions, the maximum penalty on a company hit with a data breach is 17 million USD or 4 per cent of its global turnover, whichever is higher. In the case British Airways, its global revenue was 12.2 billion Pound sterling in 2017, thus the fine can amount to 500 million Pound sterling.
Facebook: In March 2018, whistleblower Christopher Wylie exposed the large scale user data harvesting done on Facebook. Wylie presented the detailed report on how hackers worked along with a political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica and gained access to personal data belonging to about 50 million users in order to run targeted political campaigns. This incident led to a over a 100 billion USD decline in Facebook's stock market capitalization in the following months. The tech giant is also liable to pay a total fine of 1.63 billion USD based on GDPR provisions.
Bitgrail: On 19 January 2018, cryptocurrency exchange Bitgrail become the target of international hackers. The Italian exchange saw 195 million USD worth of Nano coins disappear. The heist involved unauthorized withdrawal transactions totaling upto 17 million Nano cryptocurrency which were made on the exchange by the hackers.
Coincheck: January 2018 saw yet another one breach into a cryptocurrency exchange. This time, it was one of the largest cryptocurrency trading exchanges of Japan, Coincheck. The exchange suffered a data breach attack when one of the employees opened up an email containing malware. The incident eventually led to hackers stealing private keys that guarded the exchange funds. Coincheck lost about 500 million USD worth of NEM coins belonging to its users.