Hacking has become quite common in this age, whether we talk about professional hackers who do it for “fun” or some ethical hackers who hack to find bugs in the system. However, there have been some scary high-profile hacks that had some serious consequences for individuals or organizations. We are talking about attacks like Stuxnet that destroyed nuclear facility infrastructure or exposed emails that tilted the ratings of presidential campaigns. Here’s the list!
1. Malware Infection of Classified US Networks- 2008
SIPRNet is Secret Internet Protocol Router Network, a platform for sharing classified documents and conducting classified chats. It was deemed to be “air-tight” or separated from the commonly used Internet. However, a worm named Agent.btz still made it to the unclassified and classified systems undetected via an infected USB thumb drive.
The bug was comparatively unsophisticated, and still it took the US army as long as 14 months to remove it. The operation to do this was called Buckshot Yankee, and it also included a total ban on the use of USB drives. This led to the US establishing a Cyber Command in 2009 that eventually became a hub of cyberspace operations.
2. Stuxnet Attack by US and Israel- 2009
The attack was against Iranian nuclear website. It was the first time that online hacking was used to dismember physical infrastructure. The US was quite worried about Iranian nuclear development and their ultimate hope to become a nuclear power. Thus came “Stuxnet,” World’s first cyber weapon.
The weapon entered the facility and infected the control systems being used by Iranians. After 13 days, it became active and started varying the speed of the centrifuges until they were destroyed while the computer screens were showing that everything was working well.
3. World’s Largest Bitcoin Exchange Hack- 2013
The hackers reportedly got off with $460 million in stolen cash and the massive hack that stole 850,000 bitcoins. Bitcoin, the largest digital cryptocurrency, got bankrupt in early 2014 owing to the theft. Many customers’ college funds and retirement savings were gone that led to Bitcoin’s downfall.
4. Office of Personnel Management Breach- 2015
The hack resulted in data acquisition of about 21 million federal employees who underwent background checks. About three decades’ worth of data was hacked.
The background check is conducted for employees filling out an SF-86 form that includes private data like finger prints, family details, and travel details.
The breach made 22 million people vulnerable, and the leaked data could have serious long-term effects. OPM’s Director gave in her resignation after this unpleasant incident.
5. Hillary Clinton’s Secret Email Address Hacked- 2016
A hacker named “Guccifer” hacked and exposed Hillary Clinton’s secret email address while she was in the office as Secretary of State. The FBI Director stated that Clinton’s use of a private email server instead of the government one was “extremely careless.”
Clinton’s poll ratings dropped significantly after this revelation as “Guccifer” took screenshots of Clinton’s email firstname.lastname@example.org and made them public.
I wonder what is coming ahead! What do you think?