It’s a spooky month. The nights are draw in and jack-o-lanterns start to be seen on doorsteps. In our last blog, we wrote about the horror of what can happen if your key IT goes missing – a laptop or file. Or God forbid – all of your data.
It did get us thinking about some of the other IT horror stories (not the one with the terrifying clown) that could happen.
With that in mind, here are four of the most terrifying hacking and malware attacks we’ve heard of.
Starting off over 20 years ago in 2000, Michael Calce – using the pseudonym “MafiaBoy” was able to cause damage totaling over $1 billion by targeting high profile websites in a DDoS attack. Some of the websites hit included Amazon, CNN, eBay and Yahoo! Given the damage caused in 2000, one can only imagine what kind of damage that would cause now. Today, Calce is a “white hat hacker” hired by companies to help spot holes in their systems and to improve security features.
This hack might be familiar to those who are or were TalkTalk customers in 2015. The broadband provider was hacked by a teenage boy aged just 17 at the time. The data breach put customer sort codes and account numbers at risk and was reported to have affected 4% of customers. The attack costs TalkTalk £42 million the company had to pay a further £400,000 as they failed to have a secure enough system to avoid a customer data breach.
This 2015 hack is less well known but remains one of the biggest consumer information breaches in history. A group called “The Impact Team” stole user data from Ashley Madison on the 18th and 20th August 2015. After this, the group leaked 25 gigabytes of the company’s data which included user details. Obviously that public sharing of information is troubling enough, but Ashley Madison is a website that individuals used to conduct extramarital affairs. Many users were distressed at the breach, fearing they would be publicly found out and shamed.
WannaCry is a reasonably famous and recent ransomware attack that took plan in 2017. It infected files and then requested the user pay $300 in BitCoin in order to unlock them. The ransom was then doubled after 3 days and claimed the files would be deleted if the ransom wasn’t paid within a week. It is estimated WannaCry caused $4 billion in damages and hit organisations including the NHS and FedEx.
Whilst deliberate, malicious, and targeted attacks from viruses and malware can be rare – they are a legitimate threat to any computer user. The best way to combat them is to use good antivirus protection and be aware of how malware can impact your computer.