HBGary Federal, a U.S. government IT security firm, was breached in February. Targeted by a determined group of hackers, the agency saw the download and release of confidential information, thousands of company emails, malware data and financial documents belonging to its clients. The goal of the attackers – allegedly the internet activist group “Anonymous” - was to cause mere damage and embarrassment to the firm, in retaliation to its CEO’s claim that he had infiltrated their group and would disclose Anonymous members’ information.
March started with the RSA breach, a sophisticated, targeted phishing attack, where a small group of RSA employees were tricked into opening a corrupt email. The email was in fact hiding a poisoned spreadsheet. The attackers managed to compromise RSA’s SecurID authentication tokens potentially putting at risk dozens of Fortune 500 companies and cost millions of U.S. dollars.
In April, Epsilon, one of the world's largest providers of marketing-email services, dispatching some 40 billion e-mails a year to clients such as Mc Kinsey & Company, Marriott Rewards, Citibank, Walgreens, Tivo, etc, experienced one of the most severe data breaches in history, exposing millions of individual email addresses. The criminals intended to capture as much customer information as possible in order to create advanced, customized and credible spear-phishing emails scams to use later against the compromised email recipients.
Later on that month, Sony’s Playstation Network leaked the personal information of over 70 million subscribers - including email addresses, passwords, PINs, contact details, possibly credit card information and all sorts of other records – leaving Sony’s customers vulnerable to phishing campaigns and identity theft. What’s more, the company confessed to another, second breach early May, and an extra loss of 24.6 million computer game users - without disclosing further information as per what caused the breach.
Citibank revealed in June that personal and account information of an estimated 200,000 of its bankcard customers in North America has been breached. Stolen data may include credit card information, as well as customer names and email addresses.
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