5 Major Data Breaches of 2020

Businesses are becoming increasingly concerned with their cybersecurity—and with good reason.

A study conducted by an assistant professor from the University of Maryland discovered that a cyber attack happens every 39 seconds, equating to 2,244 hacking attacks per day.

Moreover, according to IBM, in 2019, it took victims of cybercrime around 206 days before they realized a cyber breach had occurred. 

Hackers have an array of different motivations for targeting businesses. One reason is that many companies are not proactive in defending their companies’ digital information—which makes them easy targets for opportunists online.

To accentuate the risks of cyber hacking and the importance of investing in cybersecurity services that can defend your organization from attacks online, we’ve compiled five of the biggest data breaches from 2020.


Marriott International announced on March 31st of this year that they had been the victims of a data breach. They identified the cyber attack at the end of February; however, the issue had been active since mid-January. 

5.2 million records were exposed, including names, passport numbers, phone numbers, and loyalty account numbers. 

The attack stemmed from an initial attack on the Starwood hotels group in 2014. The group was acquired by Marriott two years later. Unknown to Marriott, the hacker still has access and remained undetected by Marriott until 2018.

Estee Lauder

Household name Estee Lauder has been a cosmetic industry leader for 70 years. However, in February, a cloud database without password protection exposed middleware data associated with the brand.

In total, over 440 million pieces of data were exposed, including email addresses, pathways, ports, and IP addresses.

Soon after Estee Lauder was made aware, they closed the cloud-based account down. The company reported they believed the data had not been tampered with.


In April 2020, the Japanese gaming company revealed that 160 thousand Nintendo customer accounts were accessed illegally by unauthorized third parties. 

In June, Nintendo announced an additional 140 thousand accounts had also been accessed by hackers a couple of months later. 

To address the breaches, Nintendo suggested that users choose new passwords and two-factor authentication to safeguard their accounts. 


On 20th May, hackers known as the ShinyHunters admitted to hacking the popular Wishbone app.

The entire wishbone user database was leaked on a hacking forum, and forty million users’ details were put up for sale in exchange for Bitcoin. 

The data breached entailed Wishbone users’ email addresses, names, geographic locations, passwords, and genders.


The video conferencing software gained a large customer base as the globe went into lockdown earlier this year, as more people needed to stay in contact for business purposes and education.

In April 2020, 500,000 zoom passwords were reportedly stolen and given away for free or sold on the dark web. This allowed hackers, criminals, and pranksters to jump in on private meetings. 

In response, Zoom declared they were investigating the issue, locking compromised accounts, and requesting users to change passwords and improve their cybersecurity.

The above companies fell victim to serious cybercrimes that jeopardized thousands of people’s data. In turn, each company’s reputation has been tarnished. And some, such as Marriott, are facing lawsuits.

Although the businesses mentioned above are large in scale, no company is exempt from a cyber attack. These examples are a lesson for all organizations to make cybersecurity a priority.

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