From Yahoo announcing one of the biggest cybersecurity breaches ever, to the news about US elections being hacked by Russians, it will not be too far fetched to say that 2016 was the year of cyber crimes. This was added by the reports about a hack on Dyn, network service provider using DDOS attack which stopped access to major websites like Facebook, Twitter, The Guardian, Netflix among many. There were a surprising number of high profile hacks in the past year which also brought forward many new flaws in the internet connectivity system. Even Tesco bank accounts of around 9 thousand customers were hacked resulting in an over $3 million theft. The Yahoo hack gathered a lot of eyeballs, as the hack happened in 2013 was noticed only now. In that attach more than a billion user accounts were hacked. In September also there was an announcement on the hacking of 500 million Yahoo accounts. There was also a case with tech giant Apple, where the company found itself in a controversy with FBI on the issue of the sharing of phone data of a gunman. But the worst was the Cyber espionage where there was a release of emails from the Democratic National Committee. Apart from that, a hacking group claimed that it has got hacking tools from National Security Agency’s (NSA) cyber-espionage team. Here are the worst 5 high profile hacks of 2016:
DNC Hack: There was a full-fledged attack on the Democratic National Committee when cyber crime entered the political sphere. The data theft caused DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz to resign and could probably have been the reason of Hillary Clinton losing the US president’s post. This was undoubtedly the hack of 2016, mainly because it was allegedly that the Russian government was behind these hacks of the DNC network and the emails of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta. The security officials had suggested that the security breach was backed by Russian government hackers who had also accessed the entire database of opposition research on presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Yahoo email hack: Yahoo recently said that a billion users’ personal data was compromised and stolen from as early as 2013. This largest data hack is almost twice as big as the one disclosed by the company a few months ago. According to Yahoo, this incident of the data breach is different from the one it had informed on September 22, 2016. Yahoo with the help of outside cyber forensic experts found that the data of users was compromised but it has still not been able to trace the intrusion source. In a statement, Yahoo said, “Yahoo believes an unauthorised third party, in August 2013, stole data associated with more than one billion user accounts.” A blog post by Yahoo’s chief security officer Bob Lord says that some fo the attacks were done by hackers who got hold of user accounts without using a password and instead relied on ‘forged cookies’ or data files.
Ransomware attacks: Malware attack is one of the most deadly attacks on any computer, and Ransomware being the worst. Hackers use ransomware to attack computers specifically of organisations and then encrypt delicate and important data, before asking for a ransom to give the data back. According to a report by Cisco, Ransomware continues to be the most profitable malware type for hackers and it predicted the trend to continue with even more destructive ransomware that can spread by attacking whole networks and taking companies as. Kaspersky Laboratory in a survey found that 42% of small and medium-sized businesses were victimised by ransomware attacks since 2015, out of which one-third paid the ransom. Reports also found that organisations are unprepared for future strains of more sophisticated ransomware. Fragile infrastructure, poor network hygiene, and low detection rates are providing ample time and air cover for adversaries to operate.
Dyn DDoS attack: Dyn is an internet infrastructure company and the attack on it, resulted in the mass outage. In one on the biggest denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks in recent times, major websites had suddenly stopped working and blacked out. Surprisingly, even after the attack, global database giant Oracle acquired Dyn, and according to Forbes, Oracle reportedly paid around $600 million to $700 million for it. Dyn is essentially a company known for giving DNS services, like address books that lets you know how to get from a website to the internet servers.
Apple FBI tussle: In February 2016, the Federal Bureau of Investigation had asked a court to ask Apple to help hack the encrypted iPhone 5c of another terrorist, San Bernardino shooter Rizwan Farook. In yet another battle between the FBI and the tech giant Apple, the former was reportedly trying to crack open a password-locked iPhone, belonging to Dahir Adan, the private security firm employee who stabbed 10 people at a Minnesota mall this September. FBI director James Comey had claimed that the demand was just for a terrorist’s phone, and not for the secrets of every iPhone owner. FBI had earlier abruptly withdrawn the case and had claimed that it had found a hack to reach into the iPhone and had also claimed to have had paid $1.3 million for it.