Cyber attacks seem to be all over the news recently. About a year ago President Obama declared a national emergency due to multiple malicious cyber attacks against the U.S. Just before the declaration expired this year he renewed the declaration for a year extending it to the next administration. Since then the FBI has been put primarily in charge of responding to, preventing and mitigating cyber attacks. The Department of Homeland Security and the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center will also be assisting. I believe what broke the camels back were the 20,000 emails hacked and leaked. Before all of this happened there were other notorious cyber-attacks. Here are 10 notorious corporate cyber attacks:
1. Saudi Aramco – The Saudi Arabian oil company was a victim of a virus on August 15h, 2015. The “Shamoon” virus was deployed on 30,000 workstations wiping files and making them unusable. Luckily none of the computers tied to the oil production were affected. The main site for Aramco was also brought down. It took the company a full week to restore their devices. A hacking group named “The Cutting Sword of Justice” claimed responsibility for the attack.
2. Google – Chinese hackers were able to breach Google’s servers in 2009. The hackers were able to gain access to a database holding classified information. It is known that the information contained suspected spies, special agents, and terrorists currently being watched by the US government. This data was gathered for years by Google. The intent of the attack was to uncover Chinese intelligence operatives in the United States. Find out who was under surveillance.
3. Sony Pictures Entertainment – Hacker group “Guardians of Peace” was able to breach the company databases on November 24th, 2014. The information contained employee personal information, emails, executive salaries and copies of unreleased films. The issue escalated when the hacking group demanded the company to not release “The Interview”. The movie is a comedy about North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The demands followed by threats of terrorist attacks at movies theaters playing the film. Sony did not do a massive premiere or release. Instead, the company went for a digital release followed by a very limited theater release. After the software was evaluated the attack is suspected to be engineered by North Korea.
4. Playstation Network- Between April 17th to April 19th, 2011 the Playstation Network went into outage as a result of an external intrusion. The personal information including credit cards of approximately 77 million users was stolen. The intrusion also prevented users from connecting to the PlayStation Network. The outage lasted more than 2 weeks and the costs piled up to $171 million. This is one of the largest data breaches of all time.
5. Living Social – This online marketplace was hacked in 2014. The website allows registered users to buy and share what to do in their city. Unfortunately, their databases were breached and the personal information of 50 million users stolen. Not much information is known about these attacks. The company has a total population of 70 million users worldwide.
6. Yahoo! – This company has been a victim of cyber attacks multiple times. Hackers posted nearly 50,000 user account credentials in 2013. The same events happened in 2013 and 2014. Yahoo followed the attacks with a mandatory password reset.
7. Visa and MasterCard – In April of 2012, 1.5 million account numbers were hacked after it was discovered that a payment process had been compromised. Initially, it was thought that as many as 10 million accounts were stolen. The names, addresses, and social security numbers were not obtained. But the information was enough to make transactions. In 2005, MasterCard was also hacked compromising up to 40 million user accounts.
8. Home Depot – In September of 2014 the network at Home Depot was compromised due to malware found on the point of sale systems. The malware was able to steal up to 56 million payment cards. As part of the attack, another 56 million user emails were stolen as well. It took about 2 months worth of investigation by law enforcement agents and security personnel to disclose the full impact.
9. Target – The company reported up to 40 million credit and debit account information hacked affected by a breach in September 2014. As other attacks around 70 million users information including name, address, phone number, and email were also stolen. The company is expected to pay $10 million dollars to the victims as part of a settlement.
10. Ashley Madison – Hacking group “The Impact Team” was able to breach user data from the website in July, 2015. As some of you may know Ashley Madison is a website that enables extramarital affairs for users. The group threatens to release personal information about the users if the site was not taken down. Subsequently, the group leaked a total of 25 gigabytes of user information.The site does not delete information due to policy. Many users feared of being exposed to the public and shamed.