Ashley Madison, Carphone Warehouse and TalkTalk: These are the 10 worst cyber attacks in 2015

Clara Guibourg
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Some 39m users of infidelity website Ashley Madison were exposed in August (Source: Getty)
rom TalkTalk to Ashley Madison, major data breaches have scarcely been out of the headlines for a moment this year.

2015 has been the year when hacks really went through the roof, with millions of people having had their private data stolen in the UK alone and national governments scrambling to combat the growing threat of cyber attacks.

Torben Andersen, chief commercial officer of SMS Passcode, said that organisations need to begin “thinking more laterally about security”:

This escalation in cyber attacks is only set to get worse. Whether it’s criminal gangs, teenage IT geeks, terrorists or, increasingly, Government sponsored organisations, the cyber threat is constantly evolving as are hackers’ methods.

As the year draws to its close, the company has ranked the 10 worst hacks of 2015.

10. Hilton Worldwide

By infiltrated the hotel chain’s POS terminals, hackers gained accesss to customers credit card info, which they could use to shop online.

9. Samsung Electronics

LoopPay, the payment system on which Samsung’s mobile payments are built, was hacked for months earlier this year - although Samsung said that no user data was ever compromised.

8. Vodafone

Hackers stole financial details of over 2,000 of the UK telco firm’s customers.

7. Multiple US financial institutions and media companies.

At least nine banks, including JP Morgan, and Dow Jones, were targeted by hackers in this mega-breach in which over 100m people had their details stolen.

6. Carphone Warehouse

Some 2.5m customers had their data stolen in the UK’s biggest breach this year.

5. Anthem

The US health insurer was targeted by Chinese hackers in October, exposing the details of some 11m people.

4. TalkTalk

One of the UK’s most highly-publicised hacks, TalkTalk was targeted by teenage hackers who stole some 20,000 customers’ details in a data breach that has landed the company with a £35m bill and plummeting shares.

3. Ashley Madison

Some 39m users of the infamous adultery website had their private data published on the dark web in a hack that was nothing short of media gold.

2. FBI portal breach

A portal used by police and FBI alike was hacked in November by crooks who stole data on arrest suspects.

1. US Office of Personnel Management

Nearly 20m people had their health and financial details stolen in one of the biggest ever hacks of US government systems.

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