The hackers’ chronicles have been such an interesting journey. We have discussed a lot of things about hackers from our previous articles: the types, their techniques, and a brief history of how hacking all began. This is the end of the hacker’s series articles, and I’m ending with a lot more information about hackers!
Hacking is a skill that has existed long enough, learnt by cyber criminals who terrorize different countries of the world. It can happen to anyone, any country, and any device. It’s always important to learn about these incidents, as they give more information on how they work. There are several hacking incidents that have been recorded in history, and we’re going to learn about them. Here are some of the top hacking incidents of all time:
The Citibank Hack (1995): In the early days, when the internet was just evolving, a Russian computer programmer named Vladmir Levin stole up to $10 million. Throughout this operation, he was not online. He accomplished this by hacking into Citibank’s telephone system, stealing passwords, account numbers and many other vital information of customers carelessly divulged by unsuspecting sales reps.
He used these credentials obtained to electronically transfer millions to various accounts in the world, but he was later caught by the police, and sentenced to three years in prison. This was one of the first high profile cyber thefts ever recorded.
The Melissa Virus (1999): This virus was created by David L. Smith in 1999. The virus disguised as a Microsoft word attachment in an email. Once clicked, it duplicated itself and sent copies to the first 50 names in the victim’s contact. History says almost 20% of the world’s computers were affected. No sensitive information was stolen, but many businesses were in turmoil because of the delay used in fixing their computers.
Smith was later arrested and charged $80 million for damages.
The Iceman Hacks (2006): This hack was performed by a man called Max Ray Butler, popularly known as Iceman. He was a cyber security consultant in the 1990s, who practiced black hacking in early 2000s and started stealing financial account numbers and all other cybercrimes. He was a popular hacker, and in 2006, he hacked several carder forums: online marketplaces where people could buy and sell stolen data, fake IDs, and the likes.
He was later arrested in 2007 and found guilty of stealing close to 2 million credit card numbers, amounting close to $86.4 million in fraudulent charges. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison, the longest punishment for hacking in the history of America.
The Heartland Payment Systems Hack (2008): The credit card payment processor is one of the world’s largest, processing over 100 million transactions per month for Visa, Mastercard, and the likes. The system was compromised in 2008 about 130 million customer accounts were compromised, making it the largest credit card hacks in history.
A man called Albert Gonzalez and two Russian hackers placed sniffer programs inside the heartland system. These sniffers intercepted credit card credentials and delayed the data back to them. They were undetected for about 6 months. Gonzalez was found guilty in 2010 and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
The Conficker worm (2008 – Present): With its origin in 2008, this worm still infects up to a million computers worldwide every year. It replicates itself and infects other computers and turns your computer either into a zombie bot for spamming and DDoS attacks or secretly logs and steals information. Its originator remains unknown until this day.
The hackers’ chronicles have come to an end, and it’s been quite a ride. Hacking is one of the most interesting activities in the cyber world and it is very important to have knowledge about it, know their techniques, and become smarter than them. User security is very important and in our upcoming articles, you will learn more about happenings in the cyber world.
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