The graphic above shows a timeline of some of the biggest data breaches on record. Each bubble represents the number of records lost in any given breach, with the most sensitive data clustered toward the right side.
This data visualization comes to us from Information is Beautiful. Go to their site to see the highly-recommended interactive format that visualizes the same data, while providing additional details on each specific hack.
Before 2009, the majority of data breaches were the fault of human errors like misplaced hard drives and stolen laptops, or the efforts of “inside men” looking to make a profit by selling data to the highest bidder. Since then, the volume of malicious hacking (shown in purple) has exploded relative to other forms of data loss.
From Millions to Billions
Increasingly sophisticated hacking has altered the scale of data loss by orders of magnitude. For example, an “inside job” breach at data broker Court Ventures was once one o