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This past April, Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud service crashed during a system upgrade, knocking customers' websites off-line for anywhere from several hours to several days. That same month, hackers broke into the Sony PlayStation Network, exposing the personal information of 77 million people around the world. And in June a software glitch at cloud-storage provider Dropbox temporarily allowed visitors to log in to any of its 25 million customers' accounts using any password-or none at all. As a company blogger drily noted: "This should never have happened." And yet it did, and it does, with astonishing regularity. The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has logged 175 data breaches this year in the United States alone, involving more than 13 million records.
Date of Publication: December 2011