In honor of cyber security awareness month I would like to end my blog serie about cyber security with telling you about some of the biggest hacking attacks during the years of internet and even before.
1994 – Phonemasters
even before the internet arrived the hackers were at it. They worked out a technique so they could access international calls which the sold to at a profit. Group that was called the Phonemasters started with these kind of hacks but eventually went further with credit cards and even hacking the White House. But when they did a FBI data tap sting three of the group got caught and where sent to jail.
1995 – Vladimir Levin
During the 1995 when the internet still was a child the Russian software engineer Vladimir levin succeeded to hack the Citibank´s New York IT-system from his apartment in St petersburg. In the banks system he made a lot of fraudulent transactions and earned about ten million US dollars, but the Citibank hade noticed that something where wrong and alerted the FBI and three years later he was extradited to USA and went to jail.
1999 – David L. Smith
This attack is one of the first phasing attacks out there. The first phasing attack was called The Melissa virus and created by an american. She was hidden in a word document that was sent out with a email. The effect of the virus was that when the email was opened it infected the hosts computer and automatically sent it to the first fifty people on the victims adress book. It spread like wildflower.
2000 – Michael Calce
Or MafiaBoy was a teenager from Canada. He created a load of different Ddos attacks against a lot of different sites, such as yahoo, fifa.com, amazon, eBay and CNN. He overloaded the sites with traffic so they shutdown. The kid was a genius with a computer. The companies lost about a billion US dollars and because the kid was underaged he only got eight months of detention for his crime.
2004 – Sven Jaschan
Was an teenaged lone wolf from Germany that had fun hacking from his bedroom. he brought down the whole IT-system of American airline Delta.He wrote what is called a Sasser worm. The worm is a replicating and self-distributing virus that infected vulnerable microsoft operating systems. He caused about half a billion in damage and infected about tens of millions of computers. He was eventually caught because Microsoft sat a quarter of a million bounty on the head of the worms author.
2005 – Alberto Gonzalez
During a three year period major retailers in the US were targeted in a series of hacks that aimed to steal customers credit cards. The person who performed this hack was Alberto Gonzalez and they used the weakness in the companies wifi. This one is one of the largest examples of identity theft in the history. He and his gang stole about 140 million card numbers. Eventually the caught him and he was put in jail for 20 years.
2007 – Russia (?)
This happened to Estonia during a three weeks period in April and May 2007. They got hit with wave after wave of Ddos attacks and this attacks targeted the servers that ran the government, media, education and banking infrastructure. It nearly crashed the country. The blame was put on Russia because of their tense relationship, but there was no concrete evidence.
2008 – Conficker
This virus is one of the most famous and really strange pieces of malware of all time. The Conflicker virus was discoverd in 2008, but nobody know who created it. It´s really hard to eliminate and was still infecting computer systems all over the world years later. What made it so special is when it spread it connected systems together and created an growing botnet and during its peak it had about nine million devices connected. It was only created to spread itself and not to steal anything which made it really mysterious.
2010 – USA (?)
This hack is linked to US and Israel, but there is no evidence that it actually was them. Anyway the Stuxnet worm was discovered in 2010. Stuxnet was created to infect and attack Siemens industrial controllers that led to the destruction of about thousand nuclear centrifuges in Iran.
2011 – The LulSec Hacker syndicate
Playstations network was breached by this group during April 2011. The gamers who are trying to login to play online are met with a message saying that the system is temporary closed for maintenance. Meanwhile hackers were systematically hacking there way through the network searching for access to the gamers personal information. They collected info from 77 million user accounts. In the end Sony had to admit that they had a problem and they had to close down their network for twenty days.
2013 – Spamhaus
Spamhaus is one of the biggest anti-spam services, they help you to block materials from sources with untrustworthy content. But all hell broke loose when they added Dutch hosting Cyberbunker to their list. Cyberbunker thought that they wrongly put on the list so they retaliated big by hitting Spamhaus with a massive DDos-attack. It was so big that it slowed down the internet connection across all Europe.
2017 – WannaCry
This was the first attack of ransomware operating through a worm. It spread like wildfire by targeting vulnerability in older versions of Windows OS (which NSA apparently knew about) and after a couple of days it had hit thousands of businesses and organisations around the world. They were looked out of their own systems. The hackers asked or demanded really three hundred US dollars per computer to unlock their code.
2018 – Facebook
Even the biggest social media platform in the world can get hacked. The platform was breached when hackers exploited bugs that put fifty million users information at risk. Personal info or credit card were not taken, the hacker just exploited the weakness in the platform and how easy it was to get on to it without having a password (they gained access tokens, which means you can login without a password). They also hit systems linked to Facebook like Instagram. The vulnerabilities were first found in early 2018, but Facebook did´t notice until a couple of months later.
So this is it. This is the end of my series of cyber security. I hope that you all enjoyed it and maybe learned a thing or two, I know I did. Have a great online life and stay safe!