These Internet Giants Surprisingly Still Dodge Hackers

March 12, 2015 Updated: October 5, 2018

In this day and age, nearly everything can be hacked. Forget about your computer and think about your car, your TV, webcam, bank account, health records, even your heart implant or baby monitor.

Yet there are some obvious targets for hacking that, as far as we know, fend off hackers like an angry bulldog.


That’s right. Have you ever heard of a PayPal data breach? There have been some security gaps discovered over the years and individual accounts were probably highjacked, but no reports suggest the electronic payment service ever lost your sensitive data.

It is worth noting though that PayPal is not a bank and thus not subject to such stringent reporting. If there were any breaches, maybe just weren’t big enough to force PayPal to tell us.


You may be rightfully skeptical of this example. Technically, Google was hacked. The communist regime in China broke into Gmail in 2010 targeting dissidents. But according to the company only two email accounts were compromised. We can let this one slide, can’t we?

But you may have also heard that just last fall five million Gmail passwords ended up on a Russian Bitcoin forum. Well, Google said nobody hacked them. The data were probably stolen from other websites and users’ computers.

People use their laptops in front of the Google logo in the file photo. Google announced in 2010 that the Chinese regime was targeting its networks. (Torsten Silz/AFP/Getty Images)
(Torsten Silz/AFP/Getty Images)

As website registration usually requires an email and a password, people sometimes register on other websites using both their Gmail address and their Gmail password (not recommended!). That’s how a hacker can steal your emails without ever touching locks on the Google data vaults.

In the end, only 2 percent of the leaked passwords would have worked, Google stated, and even among those Google would have blocked many of the fraudulent login attempts.


This may sound even less plausible. Didn’t Facebook itself acknowledge 600,000 compromised logins every day in 2011? But then again, it never said the logins were compromised because somebody hacked Facebook’s servers.

Some security gaps popped up in the past, but Facebook never admitted to losing of our data. Since we already trust it with embarrassing pictures of ourselves, we might as well take its word for this as well.

There are surely untold numbers of other websites never stumbled upon by hackers. But kudos to those who probably face attacks of the harshest sorts and hold their ground.

Yet there’s another thing to keep in mind: For many companies it took months or even a year before they realized hackers have broken in. Even if your favorite online platform tells the truth about keeping a clean slate, it may just be a matter of time.

Lastly, just to keep things in perspective, last year both Google and Facebook acknowledged they had been court-ordered to hand over the contents of thousands of accounts to the National Security Agency every six months.

Let’s just hope nobody hacks NSA then.

Follow Petr on Twitter: @petrsvab