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Target shoppers just the latest victims in string of mega computer breaches

Thursday's disclosure of a major computer breach exposing personal data for millions of Target shoppers is hardly the first of its kind.

Here are some of the biggest nationwide breaches in recent years:

• In July, federal prosecutors unsealed criminal charges in an ongoing probe of thieves who have allegedly stolen more than 160 million credit and debit card numbers, as well as login information, from companies including J.C. Penney, 7-Eleven, Nasdaq and JetBlue.

• In 2012, Atlanta-based credit card processor Global Payments Inc. disclosed that thieves were believed to have stolen data from up to 1.5 million credit and debit card accounts. Global Payments processes all the major credit card brands.

• In 2011, Sony disclosed that hackers breached their system, exposing credit card data and other personal information on more than 100 million user accounts within its PlayStation Network.

• Also in 2011, a data breach at third-party marketer Epsilon Data Management exposed email information from potentially more than 40 companies, including JPMorgan Chase, Best Buy, Target, Walgreen, and TiVo. Episilon was sending more than 40 billion emails a year at the time. Analysts said more than 60 million emails may have been affected.

• In 2008, about 4.2-million Visa, MasterCard and Discover credit and debit card numbers – 1.6-million of them used at Sweetbay Supermarkets in Florida – were exposed to hackers who tapped into the computer network at Hannaford Brothers grocery chain in Portland, Maine. At the time, Sweetbay was a sister company of Hannaford.

• Between July 2005 and December 2006, TJX Cos., which operates T.J. Maxx and Marshall's, had a breach that exposed at least 45.7 million credit and debit cards to possible fraud. TJX subsequently agreed to pay $9.75 million in a settlement with multiple states .

-- Times wires and Times research contributed to this report.

Target shoppers just the latest victims in string of mega computer breaches 12/19/13 [Last modified: Thursday, December 19, 2013 11:01am]
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