8 0f The Worst Cyber Attacks in History

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  • #2785

    It is true instances of cybercrime are on the rise now more than ever before. But they didn’t start yesterday. Many companies have suffered unmentionable damages for centuries courtesy of cyber-attacks. In fact, these attacks began even before the golden age of the internet.

    Below are some of the worst cyberattacks in history.

    1. The MafiaBoy DDoS Attack
    In 2002 a hacker named Michael Calce who went by the pseudonym MafiaBoy unleashed a deadly DDoS attack on some of the major companies at the time. These included CNN, Yahoo!, FIFA, DELL, Amazon and eBay. The attacks caused more than $1 billion in damages and is said to have shut down Yahoo! (the biggest search engine at the time) for close to an hour.

    Calce, who later became a white hat hacker to help companies root out security flaws in their systems admits that the state of cybersecurity is even scarier than it was in 2002.

    2. The Melissa Virus
    This was a 1999 attack that targeted MS Word. The virus attack is mostly remembered for its sense of humor because it came with a series of Simpson’s jokes hidden inside it. It came in the form of an email attachment and spread by forwarding the virus to the first 50 users on Microsoft Outlook by Office’s native share function when opened.

    The virus spread was so wide that it brought down several email servers and caused $80 million in damages. The virus thrived on emailing itself in the form of Denial of Service attack and therefore affecting a lot of people.

    3. The WannaCry Attack

    I believed this the most notorious and highly successful cyberattack in recent times. It was a ransomware attack that started in May 2017 and affected such organizations as NHS, FedEx and Telefonica. The attack uses the EternalBlue exploit to carry out its mission and is said to have caused up to caused $4 billion in damages and affected more than 200,000 people by infecting over 300,000 computers across 150 countries.

    The WannaCry attack mostly targeted computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system. It operated by encrypting data then asking users to pay $300 in BitCoin so that the data could be decrypted. This amount, according to the ransom note, would be doubled after 3 days and the encrypted files would be deleted after 7 days if payment wasn’t made. The attack allegedly earned up to $49,000 in Bitcoin.

    4. The TalkTalk Attack
    TalkTalk is an internet service provider that suffered a major cyber attack in 2015. The company was hacked by a 17 year boy who accessed personal information of more than 150,000 customers including sensitive financial data for more than 15,000 people.

    The company suffered £42 million in damages and was later hit by a fine of £400,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office for failing to take basic steps to protect customers’ information.
    In 2018, two friends named Matthew Hanley, 24, and Connor Allsopp, 22 were arrested and charged for the hack.

    5. The Impact Team Attack
    Ashley Madison is a website popular for helping married people cheat. Its slogan “Life is Short, have an Affair,” tells you exactly what it does. In 2015, the website was breached by a hacker group (or individual person) called the “The Impact Team” which leaked more than 25 gigabytes of company data affecting more than 30 million users. The hack is said to have caused a lot distress among users who feared that they would be publicly ashamed. Thanks to the company’s policy of not deleting private user information.

    It is believed that The Impact Team wanted the site to be done away with because it encouraged extramarital affairs.

    6. The Sony Playstation Network Attack
    This was a 2011 attack on the Sony Playstation Network by an anonymous hacker. The attack caused the Network to be shut down for a whole 3 weeks. Sony largely kept silent on the matter but later revealed that personal information belonging to over 77 million users had been compromised. They were hesitant to admit that credit card information had been stolen but there was that probability.

    The attack caused Sony up to £171 million in losses since it had to compensate users with free games, subscriptions and anti-fraud protection

    7. The Cutting Swords of Justice Virus Attack
    The Cutting Swords of Justice is a ‘group’ of hackers that terrorized the Amarco Oil Company in Saudi Arabia. The attack happened in 2012 and damaged more than 30,000 computers with the aim of destabilizing the company.
    The group accomplished their mission by unleashing what is known as the Shamoon Virus preventing the computers from connecting to the network and therefore crippling essential communication systems.

    There are rumors that an employee who had access to Amarco computer systems might have helped deploy the virus. However, the hacker group dismissed the reports and clarified that no Amarco employee was involved in the attack.

    They even urged the company to “…please stop hurting the employees and torturing them.”

    8. NetSky and Sasser
    A cyber criminal named Sven Jaschan released two deadly viruses that were allegedly responsible for more than 25% of all virus cases in the first half of 2005. The viruses named Netsky and Sasser are some of the most dangerous ever unleashed on computer systems. They mostly thrived on working against expectations. For example, unlike most viruses known to history, Sasser did not focus on spreading via emails. Instead , it forwarded scripts to target computers and instructed them to automatically download it.

    NetSky on the other hand did take advantage of email platforms. It sent files that caused denial of service attacks and caused computer systems to crush due to data overload.

    These two viruses were responsible for more than $20 dollars in damages

    The hope of curbing cybercriminal activities in the near future is still very dim. We can only hope that more complex security systems are developed in order to make cyber-attacks less damaging or enable victims to recover quickly.
    It is also important that companies invest in cyber insurance as part of their cyber toolkits in preparation for any attacks.

    #2875
    #5953

    It is scary to think how many millions and even billions can be lost because one is not aptly prepare to face the cyber security threats that now exist so vastly in our day and age. The cost of being unprepared far outweighs taking the necessary preventative steps.

    #5965

    Precisely, and today, in all honesty, the onus of these attacks is now on the individuals, corporations and governments that leave themselves open to such attacks. That is why it is extremely important to take all measures necessary, the first and foremost being the cyber security safeguards that would prevent such distasteful outcomes.

    #6019

    Wow, 171 million in losses, that is almost unfathomable. This is what happens to companies or individuals that are not adequately prepared to face the present danger so prevalent in the cyber world. It is also what makes me realise how unprepared I am. Oh gosh, help!

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