The 8 Most Notorious Data Breaches in History

We are entering an era of data security! This business aspect has finally gained the popularity it deserves. Today’s businesses are facing multiple data privacy and security regulations based on the territory and the industry to which they belong to. These new policies have redefined the boundaries of a company’s and a consumer’s data control rights. They have a shared goal of increasing cyberseingty while giving more power over data use to data subjects. The data lawmakers didn’t specify exact tools to use to reach these goals; however, they were explicit that the tools should protect individual and customer data from unauthorized accesses and respect customers’ wishes regarding the use of their personal data. A helpdesk can fulfill both of these requirements. Check out the GDPR, CPRA, LGDP, GLBA, HIPAA , and FERPA to gain more clarity on the new data compliance trends!

Nonetheless, all these policies have been enacted recently so data safety awareness is still at a low level. Unfortunately, many companies, even tech giants, have been victims of data breaches throughout the IoT history. Although these policies and new generation data technologies can help protect your database, their success is not 100% guaranteed. That being said, they can certainly help you strengthen your security wall significantly.

First, you need to know how to maximize their benefits. You should definitely read the instructions and implement all the features your organization needs. Consider installing a private cloud solution, as that provides the maximum protection available on the market. Of course, you must also take into account that hackers tools are evolving simultaneously! They are using more and more sophisticated technologies, thus it is critical that you regularly update your security assets too! Most importantly, try to learn from your and others’ mistakes so you can make your data shield impenetrable!

In this article, you will find the biggest data breaches in our history! This list will help you better understand the importance of data security standards and the damage your company can face if they aren’t respected. Not only can these breaches cost you millions of dollars, more than $8 million on average, but they also cause major damage to your reputation. No one wants to do business with an irresponsible company.

Today, data trust is at a high price. Now customers know their rights and want to keep their data private. Moreover, 55% of customers wouldn’t hand over their data to a company that is known for data mishandling or a breach.

1. The Morris Worm

The first computer worm was created early in 1988 by Robert Tappan Morris, which is why it was named the Morris Worm. He was a student at Cornell University in the USA who claimed that his goal wasn’t malicious. His intention was to determine the vastness of cyberspace.

Unfortunately, the situation turned out to be completely different as the virus encountered a critical error and transformed into a virus that was able to replicate quickly and affect other computers. After being infected, the computers would face a denial of service. About 6000 computers were infected, resulting in $1 up to $10 milions in cyber repair.

We could say that this cyber attack was an accident. However, its consequences were tremendous as it inspired other hackers to  develop more sophisticated Distributed Denial-of Service (DDoS) attacks we see today.

2. Phone network blocked to win Porche

In 1995, a young Kevin Poulsen managed to hack into the Los Angeles phone system with an aim to bid and win a Porche on a radio competition. LA KIIS FM promised a Porsche 944 S2 to the lucky 102th caller and Kevin wanted to be that person. This famous hacking incident included taking control over the whole phone network. Poulsen’s goal was to block the radio station’s incoming calls except his.

Kevin won the Porche but he was eventually caught by the police and sentenced to five years in prison. Upon his release, Poulsen took the position of senior editor at an IT security publication called Wired News.

3. MafiaBoy causes $1 billion in cyber damages

A Canadian hacker called Michale Calce is another example of a teenager taking advantage of weaknesses in cyberspace. His hacker name was MafiaBoy and, at age 15, he was responsible for one of the biggest breaches into high-profile online companies.

His targets included global tech giants such as Amazon, eBay, CNN, and Yahoo. Back in 2000, his mischief led to a massive DDoS attack that caused a hefty $1.2 billion damage bill.

A year after the attack he faced legal consequences. Due to his juvenile status, he was sentenced to 8 months in open custody, which limited his movements and actions, including those online. Today, Calce is a columnist and has recently published a book.

4. Google China faced massive data breach

Google's Chinese headquarters data breach is one of the biggest global scandals, and also political in nature. The branch detected the breach in mid-December 2009, which took the lid off of a gigantic can of worms and even involved Chinese government interference. Hackers targeted Google’s servers and caused unprecedented damage in intellectual property. Their goal was to discover the plans of a group of human rights activists, which is why they hacked their Gmail accounts.

The evidence suggests that numerous user accounts from the USA, Europe, and China have been accessed many times without authorization. After the investigation, all eyes were turned to the Chinese government, which faced allegations for disrespecting people’s privacy for many years.

Even though Google had just entered the Chinese market in 2006, the breach revealed a Chinese internet censorship regime and presented a strong case to relocate its business to Hong Kong in 2010.

5. NASA and US defence hacked by a teen

Here is another story about a 15-year-old hacker, but this may be the smartest one ever. In 1999, a high school teen named Jonathan James decided to do the unimaginable, to hack the strongest security walls in the world, the walls of NASA and US defence. This cyber attack was so big that it secured him a place in the hackers hall of fame forever.

He installed a ‘backdoor’ on the US Department of Defense server, which allowed him to control their computers. In doing so, he gained access to dozens of secret and extremely valuable emails from different government organizations and, according to NASA, he even got into the functions that control the International Space Station’s humidity and temperature.

The emails he hacked contained passwords and other login details for multiple military computers, including the pricy NASA software. Jonathan stole a piece of this software, which cost the space exploration agency $41,000 due to a 3-week system shutdown. The whole software package was worth $1.7 million as it was responsible for controlling the International Space Station’s physical environment.

Jonathan was young, which is why he faced a light sentence. However, later he committed suicide because, as his suicide letters says, he was wrongly accused for another data breach, which included hacking of credit card details with other hackers.

6. Group of teens cripples Scientology church website

A group of hackers called Anonymous has strong anti-religion beliefs. In 2008, they hacked the Scientology church and handicapped its website for days. A New Jersey 19-year-old called Dimitri Guzner was responsible for executing this DDoS attack with his friends. In this case, the maximum penalty was 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. However, in the end, Dimitri was only charged with probation and a $35,000 fine.

7. Solar Sunrise attacks

Solar Sunrise is another hacking incident that caused serious turbulence in the US government department. At the begining of the investigation, it appeared to be the work of Iraqi operatives. However, it was actually a group of teenagers that were smart and lucky enough to breach the government server. They were exploiting the devices working in Solar Sunrise operating systems, hence the name of this hacking incident. The government included the FBI and the Defense Information Systems Agency in the investigation, which proved how the combined effort of experienced kids could affect the entire country's infrastructure.

8. The Internet almost brought to its knees

The 2002 internet data breach was the most severe of them all. The DDoS attack was pointed directly at all 13 US servers, which wreaked havoc for a full hour. Even though this may not seem like a long time, the amount of damage was enormous according to the US officials. The size of the attack surface was the most alarming point, which is why this breach is arguably the most massive and complex in history. Even though there wasn't much change in user experiences, all of the servers suffered significantly and, if the breach lasted even a minute longer, it would have brought the whole internet to a standstill.

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