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15 Biggest Companies That have been Hacked

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·9 min read
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In this article we are going to list the 15 biggest companies that have been hacked. Click to skip ahead and jump to the 5 biggest companies that have been hacked. The revenue obtained by major corporations plays a huge role in furthering the economy and GDP of a country. Typically, such companies will require over ten thousand employees to fill jobs from entry level positions all they way up to corporate- making them a source of income for a considerable majority However, the impact is not just limited to who the company pays, but rather, those who pay the company as well. Large companies such as Walmart, Google, and Amazon are now household names, with their products being used by millions of people all over the world. Whether it be for income, employment, or products, it goes without saying that many individuals depend on these companies for one reason or another.

Hence, this makes it even more dangerous and destructive when one of these companies gets hacked. Being “hacked” is a layman’s term for a serious security breach where an individual not associated with an organization gains unauthorized access to a computer system or private network. Once access to this confidential information has been gained, hackers can steal, destroy, or tamper with that information in whatever way they desire. Many attacks are done by individuals with no specific animosity to the company; instead, their motivation is to use the attack to gain large amounts of money from the company. These attacks are known as “Ransomware attacks”, and typically involve a hacker gaining access to a company’s important data and then locking it so the company no longer has access. They then threaten the company employees to pay a specific, very high amount of money for their access to be restored.

15 biggest companies that have been hacked
15 biggest companies that have been hacked

[Shutterstock: 380107090, scyther5]

Regardless of what the motive behind a security breach attack is, the impact is almost always negative. Companies can lose millions of important files and documents about an upcoming product. Then, if those files and documents fall into the hands of a competitor. the result is even more disastrous. A significant amount of money can also be lost, such as in the case of a ransomware attacks as discussed above. However, the biggest consequence with the most lasting impact is a security breach in which details of a company’s users is made public. Users trust these large corporations with a significant amount of information about themselves. This information can be anything from basic details such as name, age, and gender to more specific such as address, phone number, and credit card information. If this data were to go into the wrong hands, the effects could be disastrous. A study conducted by Poneman Institute showed that out of all those users that reported being a victim of a data breach, 65 percent claimed to have lost trust in the company, while 27 percent stopped doing business with the company altogether. Once a company has been hacked, everything from their revenue and losses to reputation and customer trust is affected.

When you see the list of companies that have faced a security breach or been hacked, you will be amazed to find out that many of these names are of companies which you recognize. You may even be a loyal customer, conducting business with them regularly, and have possibly given them some data about yourself as well. Although the attack on each company varied in severity, they are similar in the fact they are very large corporations excelling in their work. To prepare their ranking, we have used Fortune Global 500 as our source, ranking the companies based on revenue, assets, profits and employees of the company as well. Let us look at the companies who have been a victim of malicious hackers, starting with number 15:

15. Costco Wholesale (NASDAQ:COST)

Total revenue of the company in 2019 (in millions of dollars): 152,703

Total profits of the company in 2019 (in millions of dollars): 3,659

Total assets of the company in 2019 (in millions of dollars): 45,400

Total employees of the company in 2019: 201,500

The retail giant faced a security breach between June of 2014 and July of 2015 in which the company’s online photo centre was hacked. The result was customers’ data such as emails, passwords, and possible credit card information being compromised. The company released a statement to stating that all customers who used the website within those 13 months be extra cautious.

costco, store, club, membership, sign, night, department, kirkland, corporation, sell, ontario, merchandise, retail, corporate, warehouse, business, buyer, canada, bright,
costco, store, club, membership, sign, night, department, kirkland, corporation, sell, ontario, merchandise, retail, corporate, warehouse, business, buyer, canada, bright,

Niloo / Shutterstock.com

14. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China

Total revenue of the company in 2019 (in millions of dollars): 177,069

Total profits of the company in 2019 (in millions of dollars): 45,194.5

Total assets of the company in 2019 (in millions of dollars): $4,322,528.4

Total employees of the company in 2019: 445,106

Back in 1999, one of China’s largest banks was attacked by two brothers who first gained access to the bank’s system, and then created fake bank accounts. The hackers were able to steal over $31,000 before being caught by the police.

Copyright: moovstock / 123RF Stock Photo

13. AT&T (NYSE:T)

Total revenue of the company in 2019 (in millions of dollars): 181,193

Total profits of the company in 2019 (in millions of dollars): 13,903

Total assets of the company in 2019 (in millions of dollars): 551,669

Total employees of the company in 2019: 247,800

An insider breach within the communications and entertainment conglomerate caused it to lose millions. A Pakistani man bribed a substantial number of AT&T employees to unlock over 2 million cell phones, paying over a million in bribes. He was also accused of hacking into the computers to gain access to the information he required himself, by installing malware.

att, network, broadband, phone, logo, tower, net, corporation, worldwide, business, sign, symbol, internet, tech, graphic, data, service, digital, building, icon, sphere,
att, network, broadband, phone, logo, tower, net, corporation, worldwide, business, sign, symbol, internet, tech, graphic, data, service, digital, building, icon, sphere,

Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com

12. UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH)

Total revenue of the company in 2019 (in millions of dollars): 242,155

Total profits of the company in 2019 (in millions of dollars): 13,839

Total assets of the company in 2019 (in millions of dollars): 173,889

Total employees of the company in 2019: 325,000

The health insurer experienced a data breach in the beginning of 2020 from an unauthorized third party. Reports obtained from the HHS' Office for Civil Rights stated that up to 1,000 members data including names, health plan information, and private medical claims information was compromised. Fortunately, social security information of customers remained safe.

Ken Wolter/Shutterstock.com

11. Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK)

Total revenue of the company in 2019 (in millions of dollars): 245,616

Total profits of the company in 2019 (in millions of dollars): 81,417

Total assets of the company in 2019 (in millions of dollars): 817,729

Total employees of the company in 2019: 391,500

Warren Buffet’s American multinational conglomerate’s subsidiary Business Wire faced both a denial of service (DOS) attack as well as a more severe cyberattack by hackers stealing press releases and then trading them illegally for millions of dollars. The international scheme went on for several years, from early 2012, and resulted in the arrest of suspected individuals.

Pixabay/Public Domain

10. CVS Health (NYSE:CVS)

Total revenue of the company in 2019 (in millions of dollars): 256,776

Total profits of the company in 2019 (in millions of dollars): 6,634

Total assets of the company in 2019 (in millions of dollars): 222,449

Total employees of the company in 2019: 290,000

CVS is a health chain managing drugstores and pharmacies all over the US. In 2015, their photo website was also hacked by a third-party vendor, making the credit card information of thousands of customers compromised.

Pixabay/Public Domain

9. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)

Total revenue of the company in 2019 (in millions of dollars): 260,174

Total profits of the company in 2019 (in millions of dollars): 55,256

Total assets of the company in 2019 (in millions of dollars): 338,516

Total employees of the company in 2019: 137,000

It may come as a surprise to see this famous company on the list of hacked companies. What is even more shocking, however, is who was able to hack through Apple’s famous security- a 16-year-old teenager from Australia, and a self-proclaimed huge Apple fan. The young boy hacked into Apple servers obtaining almost 100 GB of data. The teenager was brought to court, where he stated that the motive behind his crime was his intense admiration for Apple.

Apple Inc.
Apple Inc.

Pixabay/Public Domain

8. Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM)

Total revenue of the company in 2019 (in millions of dollars): 264,938

Total profits of the company in 2019 (in millions of dollars): 14,340

Total assets of the company in 2019 (in millions of dollars): 362,597

Total employees of the company in 2019: 74,900

Hackers based in China broke into several top companies and stole propriety information about them. The attacks were given the name as “Night Dragon”. Later, a report revealed that Exxon Mobil had been one of the companies affected.

Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), Gas Station, Oil, Fuel, Logo, Sign,
Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), Gas Station, Oil, Fuel, Logo, Sign,

Barry Blackburn / Shutterstock.com

7. Toyota Motor (NYSE:TM)

Total revenue of the company in 2019 (in millions of dollars): 275,288

Total profits of the company in 2019 (in millions of dollars): 19,096.2

Total assets of the company in 2019 (in millions of dollars): 487,469.2

Total employees of the company in 2019: 359,542

Surprisingly, the wildly famous Japanese automobile manufacturer has been hacked more than a few times over the years, earning it a place in the list of the biggest companies that have been hacked. Nature of the attacks include data leaks, cyber attacks, and insider breaches. However, the largest attack to the company was made in 2019, hitting Toyota Motor subsidiaries as well as independent dealers associated with the company. The hack resulted in the personal information of 3.1 million customers being compromised, as reported by the company itself.

Top Least Expensive Hybrid Cars
Top Least Expensive Hybrid Cars

6. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN)

Total revenue of the company in 2019 (in millions of dollars): 280,522

Total profits of the company in 2019 (in millions of dollars): 11,588

Total assets of the company in 2019 (in millions of dollars): 225,248

Total employees of the company in 2019: 1,125,300

The top of our list of 5 biggest companies that have been hacked is taken by none other than Jeff Bezos’s wildly successful company Amazon. Despite standing as one of the biggest companies in the world, Amazon too has experienced a data leak at the hands of a disloyal employee. After it was found out that the employee had leaked customers’ private information such as email addresses and names to a third party, he was sacked from the job.

Please continue to see the 5 biggest companies that have been hacked. Suggested articles:

Disclosure: No position. 15 biggest companies that have been hacked is originally published at Insider Monkey.