2014: By The Numbers

Image courtesy of Xavier J. Peg

2014 was a record-setting year in an enormous variety of ways, both good and bad. As we wrap up and head into 2015, here’s a look at what happened, and what we learned, in the 2014 that was.

Hacks, Breaches, and Bad Security

There have been 761 data breaches reported in 2014 so far (PDF).

Over 60 million credit and debit card numbers were stolen in point-of-sale retail hacks:

Disaster at Sony:

  • 47,000: The number of Sony employees whose personal data — including SSNs, salary, and even medical histories — was stolen and set loose on the internet.
  • 25: days between when Sony found out it was hacked and when the feds officially blamed North Korea for doing it.
  • $6: what Sony charged to view The Interview online after they pulled it from theaters.
  • $15 million: what Sony earned in the virtual box office for The Interview during its first weekend of online release.

Cars and Recalls

60 million vehicles were recalled in the U.S. this year, shattering the previous annual record of 30.8 million set ten years ago, in 2004. Almost half of them came from just one company.

General Motors:

  • 26.9 million: General Motors vehicles recalled in the U.S. this year
  • 23 million: Total number of GM vehicles sold in the U.S. since 2006
  • 11 million: GM recalls related in some way to faulty ignition switches
  • 13 years: How long GM knew there was a problem with their ignition switches and ignored it
  • $35 million: Fine GM paid for screwing up the recall, the maximum legally possible at the time
  • 42: Number of death claims currently acknowledged by GM due to the ignition switch defect so far

Explosive Takata airbags:

  • 14 million: total number of cars recalled so far in the U.S. due to faulty Takata airbags
  • 2003: The first year Takata knew there might be something wrong with their airbags
  • 2009: The first year any of the airbags were recalled
  • 11: Carmakers that used the defective airbags, including Honda, Toyota, BMW, Nissan, Chrysler, Mazda, Ford, GM, Mitsubishi, Subaru, and Isuzu.
  • 8: Airbag-related deaths Honda never reported to regulators

The Internet, and Everything On It

It’s been a crazy huge year for changes in tech policy and the digital landscape. From mergers to mobile to arcane details of regulation, they’re all related when it comes to the impact on consumers.


  • $45 billion: The amount Comcast plans to spend on buying Time Warner Cable
  • 33 million: The number of customers Comcast would have after merging with TWC
  • 20 million: The number of subscribers the second-largest pay TV company, DirecTV, has
  • 4 million: The number of subscribers Cox, the next-largest cable company after Comcast and TWC, has
  • 79%: The percentage of U.S. residents who will be subject to broadband data caps if the merger goes through


  • 56%: The percentage of U.S. residents who can choose among 3 or more internet (3 Mbps) providers
  • 9%: The percentage of U.S. residents who can choose among 3 or more options for actual high-speed (25 Mbps) internet
  • 3%: The percentage of U.S. residents who can get gigabit broadband service at all
  • 2000%: How many times more expensive mobile data is to use than wired broadband for streaming video

Net neutrality:

  • 3.9 million: The record-breaking number of comments the FCC received from the public about net neutrality
  • 1 (one): Sitting U.S. president who asked the FCC to use Title II
  • 100%: The chance that one or more ISPs will again sue the FCC over any regulation they enact


The High Cost of Higher Ed

Student debt:

  • 63%: Of graduates finish college with outstanding student loans
  • $28,400: Average loan debt burden of a recent graduate
  • 48%: Percentage of current students who actually have no idea what their college education costs
  • 40 million: Number of consumers with open student loans

Corinthian’s collapse:

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.