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7 Most Infamous Cloud Security Breaches

The use of cloud computing has undoubtedly made it easier for organizations to store, access, and share data anytime from anywhere. However, this convenience comes with a price as well- the risk of cyber attacks.

In this article, we will discuss some of the most notorious cloud security breaches that have put millions of individuals’ personal information at risk. From high-profile hacks on financial institutions to medical companies’ data leaks, these incidents serve as cautionary tales about the importance of implementing robust security measures in the cloud.

1. Microsoft

Microsoft has experienced multiple cloud security breaches in recent years, including the infamous 2019 breach that exposed over 250 million customer service and support records to potential hackers. The breach was caused by a misconfigured database that was left accessible to anyone with internet access, leaving sensitive information such as email addresses and IP addresses vulnerable.

In addition to this, Microsoft Azure also suffered a major security breach in 2020 when cybercriminals were able to exploit a vulnerability in the system’s Cosmos DB database. This resulted in unauthorized access to thousands of customer databases, which could have been used for malicious purposes.

Despite these incidents, Microsoft has continued to invest heavily in enhancing its cloud security measures through initiatives such as its Azure Security Center platform and partnerships with leading cybersecurity firms. While no system is completely immune to breaches, it remains important for companies like Microsoft to remain vigilant and proactive in protecting their customers’ data from potential threats.

2. Dropbox

Dropbox is a popular cloud storage platform that allows users to store and share files online. However, it has also been the victim of several security breaches throughout its history. In 2012, Dropbox suffered a major data breach in which over 68 million user accounts were compromised. The breach was caused by an employee reusing their password on other websites that had experienced data breaches.

In 2016, Dropbox again faced a security breach where more than 60 million user accounts were compromised. The company stated that this breach was due to previous employees’ credentials being stolen from other websites and used to access Dropbox’s systems. As a result of these incidents, Dropbox has since implemented two-factor authentication and encourages its users to regularly update their passwords.

Despite these past breaches, Dropbox remains a popular choice for cloud storage among individuals and businesses alike. However, it serves as a reminder of the importance of strong password practices and the need for companies to constantly monitor and improve their security measures in today’s connected world.

3. National Electoral Institute of Mexico

The National Electoral Institute of Mexico (INE) suffered a major security breach in 2017, which exposed sensitive data of over 87 million citizens. The breach occurred due to an improperly configured Amazon Web Services S3 bucket that was publicly accessible without any authentication or encryption. This allowed anyone with the correct URL to access and download the data, which included names, addresses, voter IDs, and other personal information.

As a result of this incident, INE faced considerable backlash from the public and had to take immediate steps to address the issue. The institute issued a public apology for the security breach and offered free credit monitoring services to affected individuals. It also implemented stricter security measures for its IT systems and conducted regular audits to ensure compliance with industry standards.

This incident highlights the importance of proper cloud security measures when handling sensitive data. Organizations must ensure that their cloud infrastructure is properly secured by using appropriate encryption techniques and access controls. They should also conduct regular vulnerability assessments and implement robust incident response plans to mitigate potential breaches.

4. LinkedIn

One of the most high-profile cloud security breaches in recent years was the 2012 LinkedIn hack. In this attack, hackers were able to gain access to over 167 million user accounts, including email addresses and passwords. The breach was discovered only when a hacker posted a subset of the stolen data online, causing widespread panic among LinkedIn users.

The fallout from the LinkedIn breach was significant. Many users were forced to change their passwords, and some companies even banned employees from using the platform altogether. Additionally, there were concerns that the hacked data could be used for phishing scams or other fraudulent activities.

Since then, LinkedIn has taken steps to improve its security measures, including implementing two-factor authentication and regularly conducting security audits. However, this incident serves as a reminder that no platform is completely immune to cyber attacks, and users should always take precautions to protect their personal information online.

5. Home Depot

One of the most infamous cloud security breaches happened to Home Depot in 2014. The home improvement retailer confirmed a massive data breach that exposed 56 million customer credit and debit card numbers, as well as personal information such as email addresses and phone numbers. The hackers used stolen credentials from a third-party vendor to gain access to Home Depot’s network and install malware on self-checkout systems.

The incident cost Home Depot $179 million in settlements and compensation for affected customers, making it one of the biggest data breaches in history at that time. It also highlighted the importance of vendor risk management and monitoring for organizations that rely on third-party services or solutions. As cyber threats continue to evolve, enterprises must prioritize cloud security best practices like encryption, access controls, regular audits, and employee training programs to reduce their risk exposure.

Despite the fallout from the Home Depot breach, the company has since improved its cybersecurity posture by investing heavily in technology solutions such as biometric authentication, endpoint protection software, and advanced threat detection tools. It also established a cybersecurity team dedicated to identifying potential vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by attackers. With these measures in place, Home Depot is better equipped to defend against future cyber-attacks and safeguard its customers’ sensitive data.

6 Apple iCloud

Apple suffered what may be the largest high-profile cloud security breach due to the victims involved. Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities had their private photos leaked online.

Many of the victims initially thought that someone had hacked their phones. Instead, the iCloud service they used for personal storage had been compromised. In response, Apple urged users to employ stronger passwords and introduced a notification system that sends alerts when suspicious account activity is detected.

7. Yahoo

In 2013, Yahoo announced it had suffered a massive data breach that compromised the personal information of all three billion user accounts. This attack is considered to be one of the largest security breaches in history. The hackers stole names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth and hashed passwords from every single account.

The breach was not discovered until years later when Yahoo was in the process of being acquired by Verizon Communications. The company then disclosed that it had been hacked multiple times between 2013 and 2014 but had failed to disclose this information earlier. As a result, Yahoo faced several lawsuits and regulatory fines for failing to properly protect its users’ data.

The impact on individuals affected by this breach has been significant as their personal information could be sold on underground forums or used for identity theft. Additionally, this incident highlighted the importance of companies investing in proper cybersecurity measures to protect sensitive customer data.


Businesses have come to realise the cloud has both advantages and disadvantages as far as security is concerned. According to a recent study, security is ranked as both the primary benefit and most prominent challenge of cloud computing for IT pros. I guess the moral of the story is that while there is plenty to love about it, addressing security concerns is the only way to take full advantage of all the cloud has to offer.

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Raj Maurya

Raj Maurya is the founder of Digital Gyan. He is a technical content writer on Fiverr and When not working, he plays Valorant.

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