10 Biggest Computer Hacks In History

Forget WMDs – the 21st century’s most powerful weapon is the computer With skill and imagination, a lone ranger can bring down corporations, spy agencies, or even nations, just at the press of a button

With new and more daring cybercrimes committed every year – here are the ten greatest hacks in history 10 J P Morgan Chase In 2014, AMERICA’S BIGGEST BANK, J

P Morgan Chase, was hacked The hackers got hold of the “root” privileges on more than 90 of the bank’s servers, allowing them to transfer funds and close the accounts of 7 million small businesses and 76 million individuals – over half of US households

But the government was on their tails Gery Shalon, Ziv Orenstein (both Israelis), Joshua Samuel, and another unnamed hacker were indicted JP Morgan said no money was stolen and there was “no evidence that account information for [

] affected customers – account numbers, passwords, user IDs, dates of birth or Social Security numbers – was compromised during this attack” All the same, the four hackers managed to net themselves $100 million 9

The Stuxnet Worm Stuxnet is the most sophisticated malware in history In 2010, Iran announced that Stuxnet had disrupted and deceived Iran’s nuclear facility at Natanz for 17 months It forced the centrifuges to malfunction, triggering nuclear accidents, but fed the monitoring equipment false data so that Iranian scientists could not figure out what was going wrong Experts believe the code would have taken years to write – it was probably written by a team of up to thirty people The complexity of the code means Stuxnet was created by a nation state

Although it was likely implemented by Israel, Stuxnet was probably written for them by a powerful ally 8 Sony Playstation Network Hacker group LulzSec made 2011 a very difficult year for Sony

They stole the home addresses, purchase history, email addresses, usernames and passwords of 77 million users on the Playstation Network Sony said no credit card information was stolen, though 12 million users had unencrypted credit card numbers on PSN at the time The playstation website was down for a month and Sony lost $171 million It also paid out a $15 million settlement in a class action lawsuit Sony suffered another big hack in 2014 when it toyed with North Korea by releasing the comedy The Interview

The hackers leaked sensitive emails from the very top level of Sony Pictures studio, then erased Sony’s computer infrastructure 7 Equifax Equifax is one of the Big Three credit agencies in the USA, safeguarding the personal data of nearly one billion people In 2017, it took Equifax five weeks to notice they had been hacked Up to 200 million people’s data  in the U

S, Canada and the UK was stolen, including their social security numbers, names, addresses, birth dates and drivers licenses 209,000 unlucky individuals had their credit card credentials taken, too

Equifax responded so incompetently that even their website was giving visitors malware Then they misdirected their customers to a fake help site The company may soon be the subject of the biggest class-action lawsuit in history, being sued for $70 billion in damages 6 Target In 2013, Target made 110 million of its customers feel very special when their personal and financial information was exposed by a hack

The security breach cost the company $162 million and CEO Gregg Steinhafel resigned A year later, a similar hack hit Home Depot and eBay 50 million credit card numbers were stolen from Home Depot, and it paid at least $179 million in settlements to consumers and credit card companies eBay, on the other hand, gave up the personal data of 145 million users Luckily, the Syrian hackers claimed they would not misuse the data

5  WannaCry 2017 saw yet another North Korean hack attack WannaCry is ransomware that targeted Microsoft Windows operating systems all over the world Around 300,000 computers in 150 countries were affected, encrypting files unless users paid up to $600 Most notably, WannaCry shut down Britain’s health service until someone discovered a kill switch for the virus

Thanks to this, it raised only $130,000 for the attackers Disturbingly, WannaCry exploited a vulnerability called EternalBlue, which was developed by the NSA so they could spy on users The weakness was revealed by the Shadow Brokers hacker group just a month before the WannaCry attack That was some fast work by North Korea 4

Melissa Virus Microsoft has had trouble before, of course In 1999 the Melissa virus forced Microsoft to cut off incoming e-mail on its operating system The virus was harmless on its own, but spread incredibly fast and overloaded systems, causing some companies to shut down It was distributed as an e-mail attachment that, when opened, resent itself to the first 50 contacts in the user’s address book It is estimated to have infected 20% of the world’s computers

It took the FBI, state police and a Swedish scientist to find the man behind Melissa: David L Smith He served 20 months in prison and paid a $5,000 fine for causing $80 million worth of damages 3 TJX Companies Inc

You’ve probably shopped in TJ Maxx or HomeGoods, and their parent, TJX Companies Incorporated, probably has your card details Well, in 2006, 94 million shoppers had their credit cards exposed by a dozen hackers led by Albert Gonzalez He was working for the US Secret Service at the time, on a $75,000 salary

Two years later, Gonzalez and two Russian accomplices used spyware to steal 134 million more credit card details from Heartland Payment Systems His hack went undetected for almost a year Heartlands paid out $145 million in compensation for fraud In 2010, Albert Gonzalez was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison 2

Adult FriendFinder In 2015, the adultery website Ashley Madison had 37 million users’ personal data stolen A year later, the world’s self-proclaimed largest sex and swinger community suffered a cyberattack on another scale More than 412 million Adult FriendFinder accounts were breached, including 15 million that were supposedly deleted Two decades’ worth of data on six databases was taken, including names, emails and passwords By the time the hack was detected, 99% of Adult FriendFinders’ passwords had been cracked, largely because they were still using an obsolete cryptograph

1 Yahoo! The Adult FriendFinder hack was huge, but the 2013 attack on Yahoo was colossal Easily the biggest hack in history, a mighty 3 billion Yahoo users were affected by the cyberattack Names, birth dates, phone numbers, passwords, backup emails and security questions were all stolen The hackers were selling complete copies of the stolen database for $300,000 each

Yet Yahoo’s bosses kept the attack secret for over three years, and didn’t improve its security At the time Yahoo was in the middle of being bought by Verizon Unsurprisingly, news of the hack knocked $350 million off Yahoo’s asking price Verizon still paid $448 billion for the tainted goods

The FBI traced two of the attackers to Russia’s Federal Security Service Yahoo’s response to the attack is under investigation, and dozens of lawsuits have been filed against the company

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