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The world’s most famous hacks

These days we’re online for everything. Whether it’s your laptop, desktop computer, or cell phone we put a lot of personal information online and we mostly assume that this information
will be safe but the following cases show that increasingly often that’s just not true! 

Here are the ten most devastating cyber attacks in history:

10) The Ashley Madison hack

The Ashley Madison hack is perhaps the most embarrassing cyberattack of all in 2015 the company Ashley Madison discovered that its private servers had been accessed by a
hacking group known as the impact team this group then threatened to release all of the information that they had to the public if Ashley Madison did not shut down the company the reason for this was that Ashley Madison specialized in allowing married people to have
affairs discreetly.

Ashley Madison refused to shut down and so 25 gigabytes of user data was released and this
exposed Ashley Madison’s users publicly. It was also revealed that only 12,000 of the 5.5 million registered users were female and most of those were created from a fake IP address cheated by the cheaters.

9) The mafia boy attack

Mafia boy was the alternate ego of Michael Calce, who in 2000 caused substantial damage to a series of high-profile websites including Amazon, eBay. and Yahoo. He did this through a series of distributed denial-of-service attacks (abbreviated as DDoS)

This type of attack is a common tactic involving overwhelming websites with queries to the point that they no longer function. Mafia boy used this approach and rendered its targets useless for hours. This resulted in millions of dollars worth of lost revenue. Naming the attack
project Rivolta, Calce was revealed to be a high school student at the time, obsessed with making a name for himself as a hacker. He got that popularity, but well he didn’t actually go to jail after being sentenced to one year probation.

Calce published a book about his experiences…and they say crime doesn’t pay!

8) The Soviet pipeline explosion

The 1982 Soviet pipeline incident involves a computer attack which was directly responsible for a massive explosion during the Cold War. The Soviets attempted to steal computer software they could use to update their natural gas export service. Knowing this, the CIA deliberately placed a Trojan virus inside their software.

When the Soviets attempted to use the software to operate a massive gas pipeline in Siberia, theTrojan horse took control of the valves and closed them. This created massive amounts of pressure, the result being the largest non-nuclear explosion ever seen from space.

Unbelievably and thankfully, there were no casualties, but the CIA achieved their dream of disrupting the Soviet gas industry, which had massive economic implications for them.

7) The Sony hack

Also known as the Sony picture hack, this 2014 cyberattack, allegedly from NorthKorea, made international headlines. At the time Sony Pictures was pushing forward with a film about the North Korean regime called “The Interview”, painting the North Korean chain of command in a poor light to say the least.

North Korea threatened that there would be dire consequences if the film was ever released. Hackers were able to download private emails from Sony servers along with copies of unreleased films and personal details of Sony employees and their families.

Some of the information released was extremely damaging for Sony, including private insults made at the expense of some of its stars. In one email a Sony producer referred to Angelina Jolie as a minimally talented, spoiled brat.

6) TheYahoo theft

Some cyberattacks are so effective that the victims don’t even know that it’s happening until years later. Well that was the case with Yahoo. The one-time most popular search engine in the world has seen a number of instances where user data has been stolen by hackers.

In 2014 an estimated 500 million accounts were hacked. This gave hackers access to user names, passwords, as well as other sensitive material which could be used to commit identity fraud.

Unbelievably it took Yahoo four years to discover that an even bigger attack had taken place during 2013. When they finally discovered the theft, they estimated that as many as 1 billion user accounts had been compromised. These historic acts were so large that even the US Senate decided to investigate them, but to this day nobody knows who is responsible for them or if they’ll strike again.

5) The Shamoon virus

Security experts warned that energy suppliers could be targeted by hackers. Such an attack could render a country immobile. Imagine no electricity, but this isn’t a purely hypothetical situation. Hackers have already targeted energy suppliers in the past. For example the Shamoon virus was developed in 2012 and was released by a group of hackers known as Cutting Swords of Justice. Okay that’s actually kind of an awesome name–the Cutting Swords of Justice.

The virus was used to undermine the energy company Saudi America. When the virus was unleashed it infected more than 30,000 computers at the company, shutting down their entire network.

Then to make things worse, the virus spread to other energy companies, but the most interesting thing is that if such an attack happened today it’s still unclear how quickly a power grid would even recover.

4) Titan Rain

It was during the early 2000’s that cyberattacks began to ramp up with Titan Rain being one of the most notorious. This virus targeted American computer networks and affected a number of US government contractors such as Redstone Arsenal and Lockheed Martin, not exactly small names, and it even spread to NASA.

Titan Rain’s main objective was to gather intel from these organizations. That sounds dangerous to me because I don’t know what kind of space secrets that NASA’s holding. This alien virus sought out and transmitted sensitive data to an unknown source, which most likely included highly classified technology that was still under development.

The UK also found itself under attack from Titan Rain and firmly pointed the finger at China as a source. This created a serious international incident as the British Ministry of Defence struggled to hold on to its classified files.

3) 2008 Chinese Hack

In 2008 a startling claim was made by a group of hackers that no website was safe. This might seem like common knowledge today but back then many government and consumer websites spread the idea that emerging online systems were unhackable.

A group of hardcore hackers from China put this claim to the test. The hackers numbered more than 10,000 and claimed to have hacked every web site imaginable, even the Pentagon. They also allege that they were occasionally hired by the Chinese government to carry out such cyber attacks. After claiming that they had been able to access some of the most top-secret documents in the United States the Pentagon then conceded that its systems had been bypassed a number of times.

The myth of the unhackable website was dispelled.

2) The Kuji and Datastream Cowboy

In 1994 two hackers going by the names of Kuji and Datastream Cowboy, by the way best names ever, managed to infiltrate so many US military systems that they could have potentially started a nuclear war.

By out-thinking the Pentagon’s security protocols both men gained access to battlefield simulation which lay bare US strategies. They also intercepted sensitive information sent by undercover agents in North Korea. And possibly the most worrying development was that the hackers gained access to a research facility in South Korea, which held information about atomic research.

Of the two men Kuji was the most dangerous and according to special agent Jim Christie, he nearly started a 3rd world war. Oh, and by the way, this was all achieved with a Commodore Amiga!

1) Wanna Cry

The wanna cry cyberattack is perhaps the most devastating and far-reaching hack seen so far. It used ransomware which shut down computer systems completely. The hackers then offered to unlock these systems for a price. The crazy thing is that this blackmail was on a global scale. Wanna cry affected an unprecedented 230,000 computers around the world across 150 different countries.

Hackers demanded $600 worth of cryptocurrency for each computer that was blocked, but in a bizarre twist of fate, many believe that wanna cry was based on a US government program called eternal blue which had been leaked publicly not long before.

But the most damaging aspect of this attack was that it shut down 70,000 computers at the British National Health Service and resulted in some patients having to postpone treatment

 

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