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Top 10 Cyber Hacks of 2015

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

2015 was a pretty bad year for cyber security. The year witnessed large scale attacks on major websites and corporations that compromised personal information of millions of users. Here we take a look at some of the biggest security breaches and cyber hacks of the past year in 2015:

1) FBI

A group of teenage hackers not only managed to hack the personal email account of CIA director John Brennan and deputy director Mark Giuliano, they also breached the security of JABS (Joint Automated Booking System), the application used by law enforcement agencies to manage data records related to arrests of US citizens. While there is no clarity regarding how many people were affected by the security breach, the incident clearly shows that even law enforcement agencies are not safe from large scale security attacks.

2) Ashley Madison

This was clearly the most talked about security breach of 2015. Infidelity site Ashley Madison was the target of a big cyber attack in the month of July which saw personal details (including identity, passwords, email addresses and even credit card numbers) of 11 million users getting leaked online. The hack not only resulted in lawsuits but was also the reason behind some suicides.

3) OPM

In one of the biggest security breaches targeting US government data, the database of Office of Personnel Management was hacked and personal details of over 21 million people (including fingerprint data of 5+ million government employees) were stolen by the attackers. The hack was quickly traced back to China and the Chinese authorities even arrested the perpetrators behind the attack.

4) Anthem

Chinese hackers were in the news again when they breached the security of health insurance providers Anthem and Premera. Healthcare data can reveal a lot of personal information so it is no surprise that healthcare service providers are fast becoming preferred targets of cyber criminals.

5) LastPass

2015 witnessed attacks not only on major corporations but also on services which manage user credentials. LastPass, one of the most popular password managers, revealed that hackers had managed to steal user credentials of unspecified number of users. The good news was that passwords were encrypted so it is likely that the stolen information was of no use to the criminals.

6) VTech

This security breach was notable because personal information of a large number of kids was compromised. VTech, a Chinese toy making company, was the target of a serious hack which saw information of 6.7 million people (including over 200,000 kids) getting leaked online.

7) TalkTalk

UK Telecom Group TalkTalk suffered a number of security breaches in 2015 and as a result, lost details of more 10 million customers. Not only that, one of the group’s subsidiary Carphone Warehouse also became a target of a serious cyber attack in August.

8) US Financial Companies

In one of the biggest cyber attacks of 2015, hackers managed to steal personal details of over 100 million bank customers. The breach is notable because it affected the who’s who of the US financial industry including JP Morgan and Dow Jones. The stolen details were later used for a range of illegal activities including gambling and jacking up stock prices.

9) T-Mobile

T-Mobile experienced a serious data breach thanks to an attack on Experian, the credit company handling T-Mobile’s data. Hackers definitely hit the jackpot with this hack since personal and financial details of over 15 million customers were exposed.

10) Juniper

Juniper, a prominent manufacturer of networking products, found a backdoor in one of its products which allowed decryption of VPN traffic. It is not yet clear who is behind the unauthorized code since the unauthorized code was discovered only towards the end of the year.

January 6, 2016

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