There was a whirlwind of scams and fraud activity in 2020. Data breaches continue to expose consumers’ Personally Identifiable Information (PII) at an alarming rate, putting close to three hundred million people at risk of identity theft and fraud. Cybercriminals are also focusing their time on other lucrative cyberattacks, such as ransomware, credential stuffing, malware, and Virtual Private Network (VPN) exploitation.
Data breaches aren’t going anywhere and we’re here to keep you up-to-date on the worst data breaches of the year putting you at risk of identity theft.
Note: This post will be continuously updated with new information as additional 2021 data breaches are reported. Breaches appear in descending order, with the most recent appearing at the bottom of the page.
January 11, 2021: One of the biggest Internet of Things (IoT) technology vendors, Ubiquiti, Inc., alerted its customers of a data breach caused by unauthorized access to their database through a third-party cloud provider. The email communication advised customers to change passwords and enable multi-factor authentication. The data exposed may include an undisclosed number of customer names, email addresses, hashed and salted passwords, addresses, and phone numbers.
January 11, 2021: News of the conservative social media app, Parler, having its data scraped by a hacker came to light after Amazon Web Services removed the platform from its servers. The 70TB of leaked information includes 99.9% of posts, messages, and video data containing EXIF data — metadata of date, time, and location. Parler’s Verified Citizens, or users who had verified their identity by uploading their driver’s license or other government-issued photo ID, were also exposed.
Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn
January 11, 2021: A Chinese social media management company, Socialarks, suffered a data leak through an unsecured database that exposed account details and Personally Identifiable Information (PII) of at least 214 million social media users from Facebook and Instagram, and LinkedIn. The exposed information for each platform varies but includes user’s names, phone numbers, email addresses, profile links, usernames, profile pictures, profile description, follower and engagement logistics, location, Messenger ID, website link, job profile, LinkedIn profile link, connected social media account login names and company name.
January 12, 2021: A cybercriminal compromised a certificate used to authenticate Mimecast’s Sync and Recover, Continuity Monitor, and Internal Email Protect (IEP) products to Microsoft 365. Mimecast is a cloud-based email management service that provides email security services for Microsoft 365 accounts. According to the company, approximately 10 percent of its customers used the compromised connection, but have since been asked to reinstall a newly issued certificate.
January 20, 2021: A database containing 1.9 million user records belonging to Pixlr, a free online photo-editing application, was leaked by a hacker. The database was stolen at the same time as the attack on 123RF, which exposed over 83 million user records. The leaked records include email addresses, usernames, hashed passwords, user’s country, whether they signed up for the newsletter, and other sensitive information.
January 24, 2021: The dating platform, MeetMindful.com, was hacked by a well known-hacker and had its user’s account details and personal information posted for free in a hacker forum. The leaked details of more than 2.28 million users registered included names, email addresses, location details, dating preferences, marital status, birth dates, IP addresses, Bcrypt-hashed account passwords, Facebook user IDs and Facebook authentication tokens.
January 22, 2021: Customer data was stolen from the men’s clothing retailer, Bonobos, was found for free in a hacker forum after a cybercriminal downloaded the company’s backup cloud data. The exposed database contains order information for over 7 million customers, including addresses, phone numbers, and account information for 1.8 million registered customers, and 3.5 million partial credit card records.
January 26, 2021: VIPGames.com, a free gaming platform, exposed over 23 million records for more than 66,000 desktop and mobile users due to a cloud misconfiguration. The leaked user records include usernames, emails, IP addresses, hashed passwords, Facebook, Twitter and Google IDs, bets and data on players who were banned from the platform.
January 28, 2021: Through a targeted attack on retail employees of U.S. Cellular, the fourth-largest wireless carrier in the U.S., hackers were able to scam employees into downloading malicious software onto company computers. Once downloaded, the software granted remote access to the company devices and to the customer relationship management (CRM) software containing account records for 4.9 million customers. The company states that 276 customers were impacted and notified of the security incident. While viewing a customers’ account in the CRM, the hacker had access to names, addresses, PINs, cell phone numbers, service plans, and billing/usage statements.
“Compilation of Many Breaches” (COMB)
February 2, 2021: A database containing more than 3.2 billion unique pairs of cleartext emails and passwords belonging to past leaks from Netflix, LinkedIn, Exploit.in, Bitcoin, Yahoo, and more were discovered online. This is the largest compilation of data from multiple breaches, which is where the name “Compilation of Many Breaches” or COMB comes from. The searchable and well-organized database was leaked to a popular hacking forum, giving hackers access to account credentials, including approximately 200 million Gmail addresses and 450 million Yahoo email addresses, and more.
February 10, 2021: A malware attack allowed a hacker to access and copy files containing the personal and medical information of 219,000 patients of Nebraska Medicine. The health network notified affected individuals that the accessed information includes names, addresses, dates of birth, medical record numbers, health insurance information, physician notes, laboratory results, imaging, diagnosis information, treatment information, and/or prescription information, and a limited number of Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers.
February 18, 2021: The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) alerted drivers they suffered a data breach after billing contractor, Automatic Funds Transfer Services, was hit by a ransomware attack. The attack exposed drivers’ personal information from the last 20 months of California vehicle registration records, including names, addresses, license plate numbers and vehicle identification numbers (VINs).
February 20, 2021: A third-party data breach at cloud solutions company, Accellion, allowed hackers to steal human resources data and pharmacy records belonging to the supermarket giant, Kroger. The records disclosed could include names, email addresses, phone numbers, home addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers as well as information on health insurance, prescriptions and medical history.
February 26, 2021: An undisclosed number of T-Mobile customers were affected by SIM swap attacks, or SIM hijacking, where scammers take control of and switch phone numbers over to a SIM card they own using social engineering. With access to customer phone numbers, scammers receive messages and calls which allows them to log into the victims’ bank accounts to steal money, change account passwords, and even locking the victims out of their own accounts that use two-factor authentication. The attack also exposed customer information including names, addresses, email addresses, account numbers, social security numbers (SSNs), account personal identification numbers (PIN), account security questions and answers, date of birth, plan information, and the number of lines subscribed to their accounts.
March 3, 2021: Cybercriminals have targeted four security flaws in Microsoft Exchange Server email software. The attackers used the bugs on the Exchange servers to access email accounts of at least 30,000 organizations across the United States, including small businesses, towns, cities and local governments. The cyberattack gives the hackers total remote control over affected systems, allowing for potential data theft and further compromise. Microsoft has released security patches for these bugs and urges customers to apply the updates as soon as possible.
March 4, 2021: The global IT company, SITA, which supports 90% of the world’s airlines confirmed it fell victim to a cyberattack, exposing the PII belonging to an undisclosed number of airline passengers. The stolen information includes names, traveler’s service card numbers, and status level.
March 9, 2021: A third-party ransomware attack exposed the personal information of over 200,000 patients, providers and staff of MultiCare Health System, a non-profit health care organization. The attack allowed access to personal information including names, insurance policy numbers, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, bank account numbers, and more.
California State Controller’s Office (SCO)
March 23, 2021: A phishing attack targeting the California State Controller’s Office (SCO) Unclaimed Property Division led to an employee clicking on a malicious link, logging into a fake website, and granting a hacker access to their email account. The criminal had access to the account for 24 hours, allowing permission to view Personally Identifying Information (PII) contained in Unclaimed Property Holder Reports and to send more phishing emails to the hacked SCO employee’s contacts. The number of employees affected and the types of personal information impacted have not been disclosed.
March 23, 2021: A database containing records of over 300,000 customers of the arts and crafts chain store, Hobby Lobby, was exposed after the company suffered a cloud-bucket misconfiguration. The disclosed information included customer names, phone numbers, physical and email addresses, and the last four digits of their payment card, as well as the source code for the company’s app.
Cancer Treatment Centers of America
March 26, 2021: The Cancer Treatment Centers of America sent out notifications to 104,808 patients, alerting them a compromised email account led to medical information being accessed by an unknown third-party. The compromised account contained patient names, health insurance information, medical record numbers, CTCA account numbers, and limited medical information.
April 3, 2021: The personal data of 533 million Facebook users from 106 countries has been posted online for free in a low-level hacking forum. The data was scraped in a vulnerability that the company patched in 2019, and includes users’ phone numbers, full names, location, email address, and biographical information.
April 6, 2021: Over 500 million LinkedIn user profiles were discovered on the Dark Web. The hackers shared two million of these LinkedIn records for only $2 total to prove the legitimacy of the information in the stolen data. The LinkedIn account users’ data was scrapped or imported from the website into a database, and includes names, LinkedIn account IDs, email addresses, phone numbers, gender, LinkedIn profile links, connected social media profile links, professional titles, and other work-related personal data.
April 10, 2021: A database containing 1.3 million scraped Clubhouse user records were leaked for free on a popular hacker forum. The leaked database from the audio chat social network includes user ID, name, photo URL, username, Twitter handle, Instagram handle, number of followers, number of people followed by the user, and account creation date – all of which the company claims is public information.
April 12, 2021: A third-party software vulnerability is responsible for exposing 21 million customer records belonging to ParkMobile, a contactless payment parking app. The stolen data includes email addresses, phone numbers, license plate numbers, hashed passwords and mailing addresses.
April 19, 2021: The auto insurance company Government Employees Insurance Company, known as GEICO, filed a data breach notice announcing information gathered from other sources was used to “obtain unauthorized access to your driver’s license number through the online sales system on our website.” The total normal of insured drivers affected has not been disclosed but the hackers had accessed between January 21 and March 1. Driver’s licenses contain Personally Identifiable Information (PII) such as name, address and date of birth.
April 24, 2021: A database containing the personal details of over 5.6 million users of the popular music instruments online marketplace, Reverb, was discovered after it was leaked into the Dark Web. The database contained full names, email addresses, postal addresses, phone numbers, listing/order count, PayPal account email, IP address, and more.
April 26, 2021: An independent security researcher uncovered a data leak caused by an unsecured Experian application programming interface (API) while researching student loan vendors online. The tool, used by Experian and many other lending sites, allowed anyone to easily access the private credit scores of tens of millions of Americans by supplying their name, date of birth, and mailing address.