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Top 10 Security Breaches Of 2013

These data security breaches may not have been the biggest breaches of 2013, but they could leave a lasting mark on the security industry.

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1. Booz Allen Hamilton -- The National Security Agency Breach

Security experts say that Edward Snowden, the former government contractor who leaked information on the National Security Agency's surveillance programs, illustrated how important it is to properly vet employees charged with maintaining critical systems and processes. Snowden was one of nearly 500,000 contractors who were granted a top-secret security clearance. Despite some resume discrepancies, he was hired by Booz Allen Hamilton. He worked as a contractor for the NSA in Hawaii with an annual salary of $122,000.

The NSA breach was reportedly carried out using flash drives and account credentials from other employees to gain access to critical systems. Snowden reportedly stole hundreds of thousands of files. He then leaked the documents to reporters uncovering a broad domestic and foreign surveillance campaign that sought to analyze broad swaths of Internet communications and cell phone records. Snowden helped foster a conversation about how far the government's reach should be when conducting intelligence-gathering activities. In addition to shining light on potential encryption weaknesses and implementation lapses, Snowden helped foster interest in insider threat prevention. His actions also drew attention to the apparent collaborative effort between U.S. technology providers and the government. The data breach could have a dramatic impact on the integrity and resiliency of the underlying systems behind Internet communications and the mechanisms used to provide a level of privacy for its users.

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