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Data theft: Top 5 most expensive data breaches

- Mary Helen MillerCorrespondent

MasterCard and VISA credit cards are seen in this illustrative photograph taken in Hong Kong Dec. 8, 2010. The two companies tipped off Heartland Payment Systems when they noticed suspicious transactions. (Bobby Yip / Reuters / File )

4. Heartland Payment Systems - $140 million

Heartland Payment Systems, a payment processor based in Princeton, N.J., was the victim of a major cyber attack in 2008. Criminals installed spying software on the company’s computer network and stole the numbers of as many as 100 million credit and debit cards. Albert Gonzales, a hacker from Miami, was accused of playing a critical role in the Heartland hack, as well as other massive data breaches of companies including retailer TJX, 7-Eleven, Inc., and the grocery chain Hannaford Bros. Co. Inc. In 2010, Gonzales was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison. The company paid about $140 million in fines and settlements but recovered tens of millions through insurance, Business Insurance reports.

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