New Company Data Breach Timeline Launched: Twitter Is Largest Breach of 2023 So Far

New Company Data Breach Timeline Launched: Twitter Is Largest Breach of 2023 So Far

Noah Rue 28/04/2023
New Company Data Breach Timeline Launched: Twitter Is Largest Breach of 2023 So Far

Elon Musk owned Twitter is the biggest data breach of 2023 with 235 million user accounts affected according to a newly launched Live Company Data Breaches Tracker Guide from the Independent Advisor. 

The new guide is a regularly updated, month by month timeline of the latest company data breaches and hacks happening in 2023. Each attack is broken down by its key details including date, company, company info, attack type, and the amount of accounts affected.

From the compiled list, the three largest company breaches of 2023 so far are:

  1. Company: Twitter

    Company info: Large social media company based in US

    Date: 4th January

    Attack type: Data leak (threat actor)

    Affected: 235 million

    Description: The largest attack of 2023 so far was on social media platform Twitter at the very start of the year.  235 million Twitter users and their associated email addresses were leaked to an online hacking forum, selling for 

    around $2 .

  2. Company: T-Mobile

    Company info: Large telecommunications company based in US

    Date: 20th January

    Attack type: Bad actor, hack

    Affected/data leaked: 37 million

    Description: The next largest was on mobile telecomm company T-Mobile, with the hacker gaining access to customer data from 37 million accounts, including names, birth dates, and phone numbers.

  3. Company: TruthFinder and Instant Checkmate

    Company info: Large subscription-based background check services based in US

    Date: 3rd February

    Attack type: Cyberattack

    Affected: 20.22 million

    Description: The third was PeopleConnect-owned background check services TruthFinder and Instant Checkmate. Hackers leaked a 2019 backup database containing information of 20.22 million users including their PII, encrypted passwords and expired or inactive password reset tokens.

With over 300 million people affected through business data breaches already in 2023, staying secure online is a huge concern for companies. More and more fall victim to cyberattacks, phishing scandals and ransomware leading to data leaks, massive payouts and often lawsuits. 

The guide also tracks and lists the overall corporate breach statistics to highlight the impact of cybercrime on business generally. Here are the key overall insights of company data breaches in 2023:

  • Number of people affected in 2023: 339,137,463 (Figure at the end of March 2023)

  • 2023’s biggest breach: Twitter with allegedly 235 million emails leaked

  • UK’s biggest breach: 10 million JD Sports customers exposed

  • US’s biggest breach: T-mobile with 37 million customers affected

  • Data leaks caused by threat actors: 275,630,000

  • Number of potential records compromised in:

    • March: 27,235,000

    • February: 23,820,000

    • January: 288,082,463

Lead writer and researcher Camille Dubuis-Welch states:

"Like it or not, cybercrime is prolific. With an estimated 8,000 cyberattacks per year, staying secure online simply can’t be assumed or left as an afterthought. It’s clear that cybercriminals are getting increasingly creative, that anyone can be targeted and that there is still a lot to learn around prevention and recovery.

While not all cases of a data breach lead to fraud or identity theft, compromised data is still an expensive business for companies and the repercussions stretch further to impact consumer trust and brand reputation, not to mention the mental and financial health of anyone directly involved." 

With the advent of AI-powered tools that hackers are using for increasingly sophisticated attacks, security teams should strive to keep up with the pace of cybercriminals. The guide also offers helpful advice for businesses on how to protect their data against these types of attack: 

  • Rigorous training of staff to help recognise phishing emails and malicious activity is a must

  • Forging a sense of trust with employees is worthwhile too, so that should someone realise they opened a file or clicked a link they shouldn’t have, they will be comfortable reporting the incident over ignoring it which could lead to an aggravated outcome.

  • Set up secure VPNs across all devices (laptop, mobile, tablet, etc). Note that the most protected options will usually be payable, but for many it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind and better security

  • Turning on 2FA where you can and updating passwords regularly with a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, special characters, and numbers that don’t relate to your personal information or replicated across multiple log-ins. Use online tools like Secure Password Generator to help.

Additional info:

  • Data is often stolen by hacking which is someone gaining unauthorised access, usually electronically, to a system. Phishing is a type of social engineering attack whereby seemingly innocuous emails will be sent to victims containing links that may install ransomware or allow a bad actor access to systems. Phishing can also be used to lure people into entering personal information, leading to data theft or fraud.

  • Bad/threat actors refers to anyone who causes harm in the digital sphere; they are slightly different to hackers in that they may not necessarily have technical skills to hack a system but will exploit a vulnerable server, eventually leading to a data breach or another other type of cybercrime.

  • Other factors that commonly lead to a data breach include malware – damaging software that infects devices with viruses – ransomware and spyware. which can then corrupt files and compromise data.

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Noah Rue

Digital Expert

Noah Rue is a writer, a digital nomad, an ESL teacher, and an all around good dude, if he doesn’t say so himself.

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