As we moved into the new millennium things changed radically as cyber-attacks became more targeted, most notably with the first serial data breach of credit card numbers. Between 2005 and 2007, Albert Gonzalez masterminded a criminal ring that stole information from at least 45.7 million payment cards used by customers of US retailer TJX, which owns TJ Maxx, and UK outlet TK Maxx. This was a massive compromise of security on a scale which was previously unheard of and underlined the huge impact that such breaches can have, reportedly costing the company some $256 million.
This is where things became more serious. The data involved in these breaches was regulated and therefore incidents required the notification of authorities and for funds to be set aside to compensate victims. Companies found out the hard way the dire consequences of being unprotected and began to arm themselves with more sophisticated security systems specifically designed to cope with this new reality.