Some of the Biggest Hacks Ever

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Male frustrated, confused and headache by WannaCry ransomware attack on desktop screen
Biggest hacks ever occurred in our modern day history

A lot has happened in the cyber world over the past decade, and a lot more is still going on.

Below is a list of some of the biggest hacks that have occurred in modern day history, and their corresponding impact on both parties of the attack.

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1. WannaCry

Just recently, the world witnessed a widespread ransomware attack that hijacked some high-stakes entities, which involved government institutions, multinationals, private companies and many more.

When the virus took control of these systems, it would demand payment of $300 USDin the form of Bitcoins, to be delivered over a span three days.

Failure to pay the ransom within the said number of days would make the required payment double to a sum of $600USD.

And after a duration of six days, and no payments were made, then the files would be automatically deleted from the system.

The virus caused a major shakeup for the affected entities in the sense that they had to change their mode of operation.

For instance, hospitals had to readjust their schedules to prioritize emergency cases first, as some situations were a matter of life and death.

The story of WannaCry was featured in a majority of international and local media outlets due to the impact it inflicted.

At some point, the matter took a political twist with several governments pointing the blame to other countries.

For example, the Russians blamed United States intelligence agencies, saying they had lost control over their creation.

This accusation is based on a previous instance where the U.S. discovered flaws in the file sharing process within Windows computers.

In one way or another, the information leaked to hackers, and they used it in the case of WannaCry.

This mode facilitated the spreading of the virus within major networks.

2. Xavier

Xavier is a virus in the form of spyware that has taken control over 800 Android applications on the Google Play Store.

The virus has the potential of staying undetected in the system as it continues to feed its developers with the information they require.

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Google realized the effects the virus was causing and has started deleting the affected apps from the Play Store.

Despite this, users are still not safe from the possibility of having the spyware already installed on their smartphone.

Also, we have seen many instances where a virus disappears then emerges again.

It might follow suit in the case of Xavier.

As a precautionary measure, users are advised not to download applications unnecessary from the Play Store as it increases the probability of the virus taking over your device.

In the event you need to download an app, it is advised that you follow some guidelines to stay safe.

First, always check the reviews of an app so you can see how other users express their own experience with the program.

Second, only download apps that are from trusted sources, as their official brand name should be listed on the Play Store.

3. Mt. GOX

Some time back, Mt. GOX was once the world’s leading Bitcoin exchange.

According to multiple sources, a hack facilitated on the platform resulted in the loss of approximately $460 million in the form of Bitcoins.

News reports suggest that there is a high possibility that the hack was as result of an inside job, most likely because the then Chief Executive Officer Mark Karpeles was also a coder.

Insiders accuse the man of laxity at work, as he considered the role of CEO as a ceremonial title. This ultimately led to his arrest.

Reports indicate the man used his coding skills in collaboration with others to manipulate the systems to get away with the millions of dollars.

As a result of the hack, the company had no choice but to file for bankruptcy. This meant the customers had lost their coins for good.

Several cyber security experts have written articles and posted YouTube videos indicating that there is a reason to point fingers at the latter CEO.

According to a Crisis Strategy Draft, there are indications that the attackers had accessed the systems a long time ago and that the accounts belonging to Mt. GOX were leaking funds.
So, as the value of Bitcoin grew, the saga turned into one of the biggest hacks in the cryptocurrency community.

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Binary code with the word 'RANSOMWARE' in the center with a blurred background
The Virus developer was extremely adept; the systems ran as normal and the damage was internal, no one could notice any disruption in the nuclear plant.

4. Stuxnet

Regarded by some as the “World’s First Digital Weapon,” Stuxnet was a virus that took control over industrial nuclear plants in the state of Iran.

The virus had the effect of disrupting the centrifuges and thus reduced the production of Uranium.

The developers of the virus were extremely adept; they created it such a manner that the systems ran as normal.

Even though the damage was internal, no one could notice any disruption in the nuclear plant.

The virus would spread through a USB flash disk.

So when a flash disk had been inserted into a computer, the worm automatically made its way into the drive, an act difficult to note.

So, the moment the flash disk entered into another computer, the device automatically became infected.

It is this cause that facilitated the quick spread of the virus into multiple computers that were in use at Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Other ways that Stuxnet would spread were through a local area network irrespective of whether the connection was wireless or used a LAN cable.

Once a virus had corrupted one computer, it would subsequently flow into the rest thus triggering a vicious cycle.

As it is, there’s no evidence as to who is responsible for the creation of the worm.

But rumor has it that the attack could have been from the U.S. and the Israeli governments working in collaboration to deter the expansion of Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

5. The Sony Hack

anonymous hacker with no face in the darkness, breaks the access to steal information and infect computers and systems
The hackers released confidential information about the names of employees, their salaries, their relatives and spouses, as well as company’s unreleased films

Considered by many as the biggest hack on the entertainment industry, the Sony hack brought about a lot of tension.

After the hack, the attackers released confidential information about the company.

The information ranged from the names of employees, their salaries, their relatives and spouses, as well as Sony’s unreleased films.

As a matter of fact, all films that were not yet released were leaked to the public, thus causing losses running into the millions of dollars.

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Of course, rumors always carry the day.

In this case, the isolated state of North Korea was blamed for the incident.

The whole incident caught the attention of then U.S. President Barrack Obama to the point he called for a press conference stating that the hack had caused serious damage and that the U.S. would react accordingly.

After a couple of weeks, there was an internet blackout in North Korea, which meant that the U.S. was delivering on its threat, further warning North Korea and any other entity from doing the same.

Multiple reports indicate that the hack was carried out by a group of hackers known as “Guardians of Peace.”

The sole intent of the hack, according to analyses, was to prevent Sony Pictures from selling a film about assassinating the Kim Jong-Un, the country’s leader.

Around the same time, the group threatened to be plotting terrorist attacks at any cinema that aired the film.

C.M.

C.M.

With the urge to know more about everything around us, I am an enthusiast researcher and writer with keen interest in expanding my knowledge in a bid to be well versed. Through writing, I express and share my feelings, ideas, and thoughts for like minded individuals.
C.M.
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