The data breach affecting customers of the Ashley Madison website may be salacious, embarrassing or even ruinous for those involved. But it’s only the latest, and not the biggest, high-profile breach of customer or employee data reported in recent years.
Hackers say they’ve posted account information for some 35 million customers of the Ashley Madison service, which promises opportunities for extramarital affairs. That includes names, email addresses, phone numbers and birth dates, and at least partial credit card information, such as the last four digits of account numbers.
HOW OFTEN DOES THIS HAPPEN?
All told, more than 780 data breaches were reported last year by U.S. businesses, government agencies and other organizations that had customer or employee data exposed through hacking or inadvertent leaks, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center.
HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE BEEN AFFECTED?
An estimated 110 million Americans, or nearly half the U.S. adult population, had some information exposed by data breaches during a 12-month period ending in May 2014, according to a Ponemon Institute study.
WHAT’S THE COST TO THOSE AFFECTED?
About one in three people who are affected by data breaches will suffer some type of identity theft or fraud, according to one study by Javelin Strategy & Research. Separately, Javelin estimates U.S. consumers lost more than $16 billion to identity fraud last year.
Here are some of the biggest breaches in recent years:
— Software-maker Adobe Systems suffered a breach in 2013 that reportedly involved 150 million customer email…