The Greatest Data Thefts in History

A history of information crime, from the secret Chinese recipe for tea production to massive data breaches at Google and Sony
Prop.-Kp. z.b.V. Film-Nr. 2865 Bildberichter: Walther Text: Strache Ort: Hamburg Datum 10.12.[1943] Die H‰nde einer Luftnachrichtenhelferin bei der Arbeit Walther

Stealing information can be just as lucrative–and destructive–as stealing anything else. Our look at the history of data theft touches on some of the major (or just really interesting) crimes in history. The father of the American Industrial Revolution? A glorified data thief. That tea you’re drinking (let’s say just for the duration of this sentence, you are drinking tea)? That’s a stolen secret recipe, the theft of which involved a Scotsman dressed up in “traditional mandarin garb.” And if you’re a PlayStation Network user or a Gawker commenter, you’ll be familiar with some of the latter items on our list. And don’t forget to check out the rest of Data Week, our exploration of all things data.

Click to launch our guide to the biggest data thefts in history.

Samson and Delilah painting
Cocoa bean
Plate with white and blue design
Blackstone river valley national heritage corridor USA
Tea leaf with bud
Enigma machine
Apple ii clear background
Credit cards
Google search with Chinese flag in background
Ker website homepage
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