A village in Maharashtra is known as the ‘village without doors.’ The villagers of Shani Shingnapur strongly believe that their possessions and belongings are protected by Lord Shani and as a result have discarded doors and locks. However, we are residents of a completely different village. Today we live in a day and age where a plethora of risks and perils hover over the digital village, many of which directly threaten the privacy and security of user data and so living without security is completely out of question. Over the past decades, the Internet has evolved the way we communicate and the degree of connectivity. However, along with its advancements, the Internet space has also witnessed a significant hike in Cybercrime. What was once unfathomable, has now become easily doable. Cyber Attacks are more common than ever and a single click can open doors to theft and security breaches. Today we bring to you 9 of the most prominent cyber attacks that left people questioning the safety and reliability of their most reliable brands.
Yahoo!, one of the largest web services providers, reported two of the largest cyber attacks in the history of the Internet. In 2014, the company witnessed a data breach that affected over 500 million of its user accounts. Shortly after that, the company announced that a 2013 data breach had impacted all of its 3 billion user accounts. Hackers gained access to all sorts of user data across a spectrum of platforms which led to many buyers being interested in leveraging Yahoo!’s stolen data. The company faced grave repercussions that also impacted its recent sale to Verizon Communications.
Facebook recently announced the biggest security breach in its history. In 2018, hackers gained access to 50 million user accounts including private posts and messages. It was reported that they stole security keys and ‘access tokens’ that enable users to stay logged into their account without entering the password each time. Facebook witnessed a 3% drop in its share price and lost $13 billion after the announcement. The social network managed to fix the glitches in the system and had everything back to normal in a short span of time. However, the degree to which the data was misused remained unknown.
The food delivery app also faced its share of security breaches. In 2017, Zomato reported a data breach that had exposed over 17 million user records from the company database. However, payment information and credit card details were safeguarded by the app in a highly secure data vault. Post-breach, Zomato scrutinized their security system and covered any possible security gaps as additional safety measures.
In 2016, Uber witnessed a huge cyber attack that compromised the confidential data of 57 million drivers and customers. The news of the attack was not publicly announced and in fact, attempts were made by Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan and team to cover up the hack. Allegedly, Uber paid a $100,000 ransom to its hackers to delete the data and to conceal it from media and regulators. Stolen data included email addresses, names, phone numbers etc. In light of the breach, Uber’s top management released a public apology for concealing facts and planned to implement stricter security measures.
The Starwood division of Marriott hotel group had suffered a tremendous data breach that resulted in the data of 500 million customers being compromised. The attack had serious implications as a huge amount of customer information including addresses, names, payment information, passport numbers and much more was stolen. This breach seemed to occur in 2014 and was not found until recently, in 2018. Marriott was served with a $123 million fine over this security breach.
The software company, Adobe, reported a massive security breach in October 2013. A total of 150 million accounts were affected by the breach that included personal information of at least 2.9 million accounts and 38 million active accounts. The stolen data included login ids, passwords, credit card numbers, amongst other details. Additionally, the company’s product data was also stolen. Adobe faced illegal access and theft of more than 40GB of their source code.
7. “Game of Thrones” HBO Attack
HBO witnessed a massive cyber attack that led to 1.5 terabytes of data being stolen that included upcoming episodes of shows like Game of Thrones and Room 104. The stolen data also included episode scripts, email addresses and phone numbers of GoT actors. The HBO IT team, post this breach, announced that necessary security measures will be taken to avoid such breaches in the future.
On June 5, 2012, LinkedIn was targeted by Russian cybercriminals that led to 117 million account passwords to be stolen. Users could no longer access their accounts and had to repeatedly change their passwords as a security measure. Since many users use the same password across many accounts, hackers could also gain access to user’s bank and email accounts. The stolen data was also being sold on an online black market by hackers. LinkedIn then advised its users to change passwords and make use of two-factor authentication.
9. Sony Playstation
Sony’s Playstation Network became a target to cyber attacks in April 2011. The network contained personal data of 77 million users which got leaked after the security breach. This meant that banking details and information of many users were also compromised. What followed was an alarming situation wherein the Sony network was shut down for a month. Sony also paid $15 million along with legal fees to all those people whose bank accounts were used illegally. Reportedly, Sony could easily prevent this cyber attack with a simple security audit. Having read those, it is safe to say that we are never completely immune to cyber attacks even with our doors tightly shut. However, we can do our part by implementing simple security measures in our cyber activity to prevent us from falling prey to cybercrime. To know more about simple measures you can take to stay safe, read 9 Ways to Protect Yourself From Cyber Crime.