While getting your twitter account hacked could be devastating for your reputation, Hacking can be far more frightening when at its worst. These attacks can not only compromise your data, but can also render military system ineffective. Since we’ve seen a sharp rise in cybercrime attacks in the past couple of years, it would be worthwhile for our readers to know about some of the most outrageous hacking attacks in history. These attacks not only caused a lot of financial and informational loss but also proved to be a watershed for digital users and cyber security personnel. Listed below are some of the most shocking hacking attacks that sent everyone back to the stone age.
There are viruses that are meant to target everyday internet users and then there’s Stuxnet. This highly malicious worm was reported to chew through the entire Siemens Industrial Control System, and was spread via Microsoft Windows. It was later discovered that this highly chaotic virus is actually the brainchild of an American-Israeli Cyberweapons program. It was designed to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program and wrecked a fifth of their Nuclear Centrifuges. Reportedly, the worm was also deployed in North Korea by NSA in a failed attempt to sabotage their Nuclear Program. It’s highly malleable code makes it a highly demanded black market item that hackers could easily get their hands on.
Hacking has existed since way before the arrival of Computers and digital technology. Interestingly, it was first exemplified by a magician named Nevil Maskelyne on none other than Guglielmo Marconi. Yes, the genius scientist found himself totally “Punk’d” by the villainous prankster during his first ever display of wireless telegraph technology at the Royal Institution of Great Britain. When Marconi turned the telegraph machine on, it started playing a message recorded by Maskelyne loathing Marconi’s technology. Nevertheless, this prank only helped strengthen the security loopholes in this technology that led to the invention of Radio.
Home Depot Breach
In one of the biggest digital data breaches in history, credit card information and email addresses of more than 50 million customers were reportedly exposed and stolen by hackers. This not only led to a lot of financial loss, but also provided a shattering blow to Home Depot’s reputation, since they’re the largest home improvement retailers in the US. The breach only came into notice after several stolen credit card details were put up for sale. Officials from Home Depot apologized to the customers for this breach and publically accepted gaps in their security.
2014 seems to be a particularly bad year for online shoppers despite its rising popularity across the globe. While you might not be surprised, but EBay Inc. was also attacked by hackers in 2014, leaving more than 145 million customer account details exposed. The officials were left in utter shock when dealing with this cyberattack as they considered such a possibility. This was a major blow to the booming online retail market and has tarnished EBay’s reputation to a considerable degree.
US Department of Defense and NASA
You know it’s time to move south when your country’s defense can be compromised by a 15-year-old. In 2002, the US government found their highly-secure databases accessed by a Scottish hacker named Gary McKinnon. Reportedly, McKinnon hacked into 97 NASA and US DoD computers while trying to expose UFO-Cover Ups and Free-Energy Suppression. However, the authorities accused him of deleting several critical files, resulting in a 21-day shutdown of NASA systems. McKinnon also became the first juvenile to be found guilty for a cybercrime attack.
Estonia DDoS Attacks
In 2007, the most ‘Wired’ country in the world was literally brought to a standstill by hackers who targeted Estonian parliament, broadcast networks, banks and various government databases. The attack was described as a large scale DDoS (distribution denial of service) attack that explicitly used botnets to fry servers. The responsibility for this attack was publically claimed by a Russian Pro-Youth Movement commissioner Konstantin Goloskokov. This was also considered to be Russia’s response against the relocation of Bronze Soldier Graveyard in Tallinn by the Estonian Government. Although Russian government’s direct involvement has never been proven in this incident.
Creators of computer viruses and malware don’t always target individual users. In the same vein, Melissa Macro Virus was created to specifically target corporate servers via email attachments. It comes disguised as a doc file created using Word 97 or 2000. Once a user opens the attachment the file replicates itself in the computer’s storage. The infected code then takes over the user’s outlook account and mails it’s copies to addresses from your mailing list. While this doesn’t compromise any personal information, it could potentially flood email servers and effectively shut down office communications. The virus was later traced to its creator named David L. Smith who lived in New Jersey, US.
Another incident that devastated internet in 2014 was the Sony Pictures Hack, involving Hollywood flick ‘The Interview’. The attack resulted in confidential data being exposed and leaked, including personal employee databases and several un-released films. A hacker group named Guardians of Peace claimed responsibility for this attack, in response to the film’s plot involving the assassination of North Korea’s current leader Kim Jong-Un. This not only led to Sony Pictures cancelling public release of ‘The Interview’ in favor of a digital release. While North Korean officials denied their involvement, US intelligence agencies state otherwise after examining the techniques employed in this attack.
You’re definitely getting off easy if a hacker simply posts some fake updates on your Facebook account. As it must’ve been already clear through the above examples that hacking attacks are far more devastating than simply getting your social media accounts compromised. They can not only lead to financial losses, but can easily put an entire country in a financial and technological deadlock.