The 5 Most Impactful Cyber Attacks That Changed the World

30. June 2020

5 Cyber Attacks That Changed the World

In 1970, the first virus was detected on ARPANET – the predecessor of the Internet. Whilst fairly innocuous, the virus, named “Creeper”, was thought to be the first of its kind. However, it wasn’t until 1988 that a virus would gain mass media coverage in the form of the first “worm” – the Morris Worm.

It’s been half a century since Creeper and ever since, malware has become increasingly common and malicious, becoming ever harder to identify and remove.

Cyber attacks have been evolving rapidly and to keep your IT environment secure, you need to keep a vigilant eye out for digital threats. From computer viruses to large-scale data breaches, cyber threats come in all shapes and sizes.

As cyber attacks continue to evolve, so do our cyber security solutions, designed and tested to provide the most suitable protection available.

As we look forward to the future of cyber security, it’s essential to remember the milestone incidents that have made cyber security what it is today. 

At Redpalm, we’ve put together the top 5 cyber attacks that changed the world, as well as the crucial lessons we learned along the way.

 

 

Creeper, the First Computer Virus (1970)

The first-ever computer virus, popularly known as the “Creeper”, was created by Bob Thomas. It was a self-replicating program that took advantage of ARPANET to infect DEC PDP-10 computers. Although relatively harmless compared to most modern viruses, the virus would keep displaying the same message “I’m the creeper, catch me if you can!”, preventing users from using their computers.

It was this cyber attack that led to the creation of the first-ever antivirus program called “The Reaper”.

 

 

 

The Largest Data Breach (2013 & 2014)

In 2013 , Yahoo faced the largest data breach to date, that compromised the sensitive information of nearly 3 billion users, leaking information including names, passwords and security answers. This was exacerbated by a separate attack only 3 months later in 2014, compromising another 500 million accounts.

Neither  breach was reported until 2016 and Yahoo faced over 40 class-action lawsuits and a fine of $35 million. The data breach led to a $350 million loss in Yahoo’s sale price.

 

 

 

“WannaCry” Ransomware Attack (2017)

Ransomware is malicious software that encrypts a victim’s files, preventing them from accessing them until a ransom is paid. A ransomware cryptoworm called “WannaCry” infected computers in 2017 and demanded payment in Bitcoin cryptocurrency.

 

This devastating ransomware attack infected 230,000 computers across 150 countries in a matter of weeks, and cost the NHS alone almost £100 million.

 

 

NotPetya Ransomware Attack (2017)

The NotPetya ransomware attack infected over 12,500 computers around the world and mainly targeted Microsoft operating systems. It wiped out sensitive data from banks, energy firms, an airport, and government offices.

 

What made this attack stand out is that the ransomware not only encrypted the data for a ransom but rather prevented the computer from functioning at all, showing how damaging an attack could be. The total cost of the attack is estimated at $250 to $300 million globally.

 

 

Credit Card Attack (2017)

The failure of Equifax to fix vulnerabilities in their credit check platform resulted in a data breach of nearly 143 million individuals. The cyber criminals were able to access details of more than 209,000 credit cards. This was one of the largest credit card attacks in history, which resulted in the resignation of the company’s CEO.

Although cyber attacks take place every day, these top 5 moments had a huge impact on the world and brought the importance of data recovery and cyber security to the forefront.

 

 

Lessons Learnt from Past Cyber Attacks

Don’t Assume It Won’t Happen to You

When it comes to data, anyone and everyone is vulnerable to a cyber attack, whether you store your information on-premises or on the cloud.

 

Hackers Come in All Shapes and Sizes

Although they still exist, the caricature of cyber criminals working from their basements is now outdated. Their tactics have advanced and evolved in sophistication as security technology has improved. Moreover, coordinated cyber attacks from different parts of the world have increased exponentially, as criminals have organised and collaborated.

 

Your Own Team Are the Greatest Risk

Many cyber attacks are targeted at employees working in an organisation, as they are only a click away from activating a phishing email. Therefore, it is vital to educate, train and familiarise staff on basic cyber security threats to ensure your network is protected.

 

Cyber Criminals Aren’t Leaving Anytime Soon

With technology evolving at breakneck speed, cyber criminals have come a long way. Therefore, it is critical to ensure that you stay alert and up-to-date with the latest trends in order to keep potential threats at bay and minimise their impact on your business.

 

Contact Redpalm for Cyber Security Services

With so much money to be made illicitly, it’s hardly surprising that the number and severity of cyber threats is increasing. This makes it more important than ever to protect yourself with appropriate IT security to keep your data safe. 

At Redpalm, we help you uncover possible security threats by offering robust IT solutions, cyber security and disaster recovery services.

To find out more about how we can help you protect your data, contact us today!