Hundreds of minor security breaches occur every day. In the third quarter of 2012 alone, 981 million hacks were attempted around the world, according to NCC Group. That’s 23 million more than the previous quarter, and the research firm’s estimate suggest that the fourth quarter’s attempted hacks will total more than 1 billion. Not all security breaches are the direct result of a targeted hack--sometimes’ they’re the result of bad corporate policy, a mistake, or the work of a malicious employee. When these breaches are made public, companies are not quick to elaborate on what went wrong. Understandably, they want to minimize bad PR, but damage control efforts make it tougher for us to implement preventative measures. This list is composed of major breaches that occurred in 2012 alone (or, that were discovered or announced this year). We see a mix of hacks, corporate missteps, and poor encryption but security breaches are an equal opportunity villain. Victims (and perpetrators) include popular social networking sites, government agencies and traditionally offline corporate operations. Sometimes, a breach is major not because of the sheer number of people it has affected, or the popularity of the company, but because of the level of criminal activity and hacking required to access the sensitive data, or because an extraordinary level of personal or corporate information was revealed. Did we miss a noteworthy and devastating breach that happened this year? Let us know in the comments section below.