From country on country attacks, to vicious money grabs and moral assaults. Computer hacks can do serious damage! Find out which of these hacks very likely impacts you!
10. Shadow Brokers
Shadow Brokers is a group of hackers that first made their appearance to the world in August of 2016. The allegedly elite group of self-proclaimed computer experts debuted to the world by claiming that they had breached the United States intelligence gathering Agency, the NSA. Cracking the virtual armor of one of the world’s largest computer based agencies is an impressive feat, and one that quite a few people questioned, so the shadow brokers leaked a number of exploits from various popular computer programs to prove the legitimacy of their claim. As it turns out, the NSA had been scouring the most popular software in the commercial market for bugs that they could use to exploit people’s computers and gather information in other words the NSA was intending to use these bugs to their advantage. Of course, they did not alert the companies that had manufactured the programs that they had managed to figure out how to hack whatever they wanted, so said companies remained unaware that there were glaring threats to their customers security, right under their noses.
So, when the shadow brokers released the hacks that the NSA collected in a series of leaks to prove that they had indeed broken into the organization’s servers, hackers around the world were now suddenly given access to tools that they needed to hack into some of the world’s most popular programs. Programs like Microsoft Office, which is installed on nearly every Windows computer that currently exists!
Exploits aren’t the only things that computer hackers go after. Sometimes, ill-intentioned computer experts are seeking to covertly take over the computers of unsuspecting consumers. Viruses that allow hackers to control other pcs from a distance are known as remote access tools.
When a hacker manages to slip these tools into enough computers, then they essentially have almost unlimited amounts of processing power at their disposal to do whatever they like with. And the worst part? If these remote access viruses don’t use enough of your local resources you might not even notice that your computer has been taken over! It might just run a little slower than normal. One of the most famous appearances of a remote access virus is known as operation Shady-RAT. From 2006 and into the current day, an unknown hacker network has targeted and looted the files of over 70 public and private organizations.
When the Olympic Committee and world anti-doping Association were targeted by Shady-RAT, in the lead-up to the Beijing Olympics of 2008, the Olympic Committee pointed their finger towards China. However, no one has officially been recognized as being responsible for Shady-RAT…and yet…no one has been caught!
8. Conficker Worm
Sometimes, the scariest things aren’t the viruses that have actually done the most damage, but instead the ones that have the most potential to wreak absolute havoc if they wanted to. The Conficker worm, sometimes also called the Downadup worm, was released into the worldwide web. Years ago, even despite being discovered a short while after it went live, the Conficker hack has proved to be one tough customer.
It’s hard to detect as it systemically disables an infected computers antivirus software, ensuring that its own cover doesn’t get blown. For eight years, this worm has traveled around the internet infecting host computers and adding them to a network of zombie computers that can be used to spam other PC’s, or even report its owner’s personal information — including your credit card numbers, passwords, or anything that gets typed on an infected computers keyboard. All of these scary sounding things aside, surprisingly the Conficker worm hasn’t become famous for any one large attack, and has done relatively little damage in comparison to some other, more high-profile breaches.
7. Chinese Breach The U.S
In the may of 2013, the U.S. Pentagon reported to the world that the Chinese government had breached the servers of a number of U.S.
The United States never directly accused the Chinese of stealing anything…well not publicly, at least. However, the Pentagon did reveal that the hackers they had identified were of Chinese origin and had access to a number of highly sensitive weapon and missile designs. Directly following the breach, the U.S. called for a meeting with China and began to ramp up public warnings to the Eastern country. It’s certainly possible that the Chinese made away with quite a few confidential blueprints and insights into American war tech. But what the eastern giant has done with data like that since — if they did indeed take it in the first place — is really anyone’s guess.
6. Hackers Strike Back
DDoS, or a distributed denial-of-service attacks, have been popping up in the news more and more lately. Your average piece of malware is pretty sneaky, but a DDoS attack is really anything but sneaky. Instead, it’s a brute-force web hack style personified. A DDoS works by flooding a server with requests. Way more than it’s used to tackling from the average number of visitors that would typically visit during a normal day. When a hacker launches an attack like this, they’re doing their very best to overload a server and shut it down, usually to make a point or to cost the companies that use that server money…or both. DDoS attacks have been known to make the news, however, in March 2013, an attack unlike any the Internet has ever seen before, or since, was unleashed. A group of hackers used hundreds of DNS servers to bounce and reflect signals over and over and over again, launching over 300 gigabytes per second of information right into a singular network.
The internet was hit so hard it shook from the brute force of this singular attack, causing entire sections of the web to go black for hours and for the rest to take quite a speed hit. Why did the people behind the attack do this? Simple…revenge, and to make a point. The target of this attack was a nonprofit organization known as Spamhaus Spamhaus was a protection service that tracked hackers and spammers, and blacklisted them. Well, somebody didn’t like this and they decided to tell the nonprofit that they couldn’t really protect themselves, let alone anyone else, as long as the hackers were around. And thus, the biggest DDoS attack in history occurred.
5. Ashley Madison Down!
Not all hacks are meant to steal the personal information of innocents or to carpet-bomb the Internet.Sometimes a group of people just want to make a point. No matter where you stand on the topic, the fact is that some people took a lot of offense to a certain website known as Ashley Madison. The company came online in the late 2000s, advertising itself as a dating website for married individuals. A hacker group known as “Impact Team” decided that the customers of Ashley Madison needed to be taught a lesson for their life choices. We’ll leave the moral implications of this decision up to you, however, the impact team launched a covert attack against avid life media — the company that held the data of Ashley Madison’s clients — and the hackers then copied the personal information of said users, leaking it out online for everyone to see. The uproar that followed after this shook the lives of many individuals, though, including some proposal inks to a number of divorces and even suicides that occurred after the leak.
Some have scorned impact team for their actions, while others have hailed them as heroes and crusaders against infidelity.
We mentioned an earlier case of the U.S. being hacked by foreign powers, however, as it turns out…America isn’t totally innocent, either. In fact, it’s suspected that the American government carries out hacks all the time. Targeted at countries across the world, perhaps the most well known was a hack that has come to be known as Stuxnet. Although neither country has ever taken credit for it, a number of outside parties have linked a worm that infiltrated Iran’s nuclear program back to America and Israel.
In any case, the program that was targeted in Iran snuck into their nuclear refinement plant systems. The virus caused the plant’s uranium centrifuges to spin erroneously. For 17 entire months, the Stuxnet bug led Iranian scientists on a wild goose chase, causing reactors to stop, then start, then work perfectly…only to fail all over again in odd ways. This virus did its work while hundreds of uranium samples were run through Iran’s refinement plants, confusing the scientists there and setting back the Middle Eastern government by millions of dollars. In the end, thousands of hours were work were wasted, along with a whole lot of money…all thanks to Stuxnet!
3. Department of Defense Hacked!
The Department of Defense fights off hundreds of attacks each and every day. Hackers from across the world regularly batter themselves against the airtight firewalls of the United States defense sector. However, back in 1999 one of these attacks actually succeeded in cracking through the DoD safeguards.
It wasn’t a hit from a foreign power, or a backstabbing ally that snuck by the U.S.’s gaze, however. No…it was actually a teenager from Florida that slipped past the DoD’s watchful gaze. Jonathan James did this by installing a backdoor software into the DoD servers. The teen then used his access to classified servers to intercept a number of sensitive emails. These correspondences included codes for the International Space Station’s life support system, and more! Jonathan James was actually the first American teenager sentenced for cyber crimes in the United States, being only 15 years old at the time of the hack. James did get off light when it came to jail time, though, and he was actually banned from ever being able to use computers for personal use.
2. Comodo compromised
Nowadays, most large-scale and professional websites display security certificates to visitors to prove that they’re safe. These certificates give visitors faith in a website’s legitimacy and goodwill, however, back in 2011, an Iranian programmer was able to exploit this trust. Comodo is one of the companies that provides these cyber security certificates the Internet users see around the web. When the aforementioned Iranian hacker broke into their system, he used their software to create fake duplicates of Yahoo and Google, allowing him to steal the private information of a great number of people!
1. Equifax breached!
The most recent of these hacks, and the most likely to have affected you directly, is the massive Equifax hack of 2017.
On July 29th, 2017, one of the three major credit reporting agencies that are responsible for securely rating credit information for the American public was breached by hackers. They were able to gain access to the information of over 143 million Americans! Hackers were said to have gained access to personal information such as addresses, employers, and credit card information of the unsuspecting public…from a service in which they have no choice to opt into or out of. This one breach could potentially risk the future credit of every person breached, having lasting effects on their future ability to get a credit card, buy a car, or even own a house! The knowledge of the hack was shielded from the public for more than a month, though, which gave time for the still unknown perpetrators to maliciously use the stolen information. What’s more, however, is the fact that this wasn’t the first time it happened. No! Since the announcement of the breach, it has come to light that the same hackers were able to gain access to the system as early as March of 2017.
Again, information that was never disclosed to the general public. As if there were more fuel to add to the fire, executives at the top of the Equifax food chain may have been the perpetrators of a major insider trading scheme, as they were found to have sold off an estimated million dollars worth of shares in between the days of them finding out about the hacks and their public announcement. Tell us about other hacks you’ve heard of in the comments below.