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February 2014: most high-profile hacks ever?

malwareWe predicted that 2014 would see more hacks and malware infections than previous years, but perhaps we underestimated just how many high-profile exploits would hit the headlines in such a short period.

From students hacking their schools to huge university data leaks, exploits in casinos to supermarket clubcards, and from dating apps to drug dens, this February might go down in history as the month with the most unrelated, high-profile hacks ever.

Here’s a summary of 11 of the biggest hacks and infections that legitimate users could have faced this February:

Forbes.com loses 1million email accounts
Users of news website Forbes.com were informed that all one million of them have had their email address and encrypted passwords stolen. Ouch.

300,000 accounts stolen from University of Maryland
The 309,079 records include name, Social Security number, date of birth, and University ID number, and date back all the way from 1998.

Tinder dating app lets users track others
It was revealed that there had been a bug in the popular dating app Tinder, which allowed users to triangulate another user’s position, and therefore revealing their exact location.

Linksys routers vulnerable to malware
Do you have wireless internet at home? If so, and your router is made by Linksys, it could fall victim to malware. Look for more information if your router has a model # of: E300, E900, E1000, E1200, E1500, E1550, E2000, E2100L, E2500, E3000, E3200, E4200, WAG320N, WAP300N, WES610N, WAP610N, WRT610N, WRT400N, WRT600N, WRT320N, WRT160N, or WRT150N.

Kickstarter crowd funding website hacked
If you’ve ever used the Kickstarter crowd-funding website, you should change your password. Usernames, email addresses, mailing addresses, phone numbers, and encrypted passwords for an unknown number of users have been stolen.

11 students hack school system to change grades
According to an investigation, a hardware keylogger (which tracks keystrokes from your keyboard) was used to grab teachers’ login details. These were used to change grades from previous exams.

Sands Casino websites down for six days
Internal and external systems for the Sands Casino group – a large US casino website company – have been compromised, bringing the sites down for six days.

2,240 Tesco cardholders’ data leaked
British supermarket giant Tesco was forced to close over 2,000 user accounts for its online shopping site after a number of email addresses, passwords and voucher balances were leaked.

FC Barcelona’s Twitter account accessed
Barcelona football club lost access to their Twitter account earlier this month, with messages appearing that urged the club to avoid dealing with Qatar – the club’s shirt sponsor.

Online black market Silk Road users lose all their money
$2.7million was emptied from the accounts of the Silk Road – an online black market widely used for purchasing illegal goods. That’s all their money.

34 Comcast servers compromised
American communications giant Comcast had 34 of its servers hacked into, with email data leaked.

Phew, that’s not small, is it? And to think, February is the shortest month of the year.

If this shocks you, just remember: while home users can’t protect these websites from criminals, we can defend against exploits by ensuring that we use a unique password for every website we sign-up for. Don’t forget it!

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