2016 is about to end as we approach December 31st and this year will be remembered for a lot of things. A lot happened this year on both domestic and global scale. India witnessed the biggest financial coup as demonetization and America witnessed the most chaotic election in their history. Good or bad, 2016 was different for everyone. However, it was pretty adverse in the world of computer security.
It’s long depressing, breach-filled year in computer security.
Yahoo went haywire
2016 hasn’t been a ‘good’ year for Yahoo. In September Yahoo shocked the world when it revealed that at least 500 million user accounts have been compromised. At the time the breach was considered to be the largest personal data theft from a major technology company ever. Yahoo later disclosed that the hack itself had happened in 2014 but only came into light in 2016, which made the matters worse considering the fact that the hackers had access to all those account for two long years.
If you think it is bad then wait- it gets worse. The news turned out to be warm-up as Yahoo again disclosed that over 1 billion of its accounts were hacked back in August 2013 . To make things more disturbing, according to Yahoo’s chief information security officer Bob Lord, the company hasn’t been able to identify the intrusion associated with theft.
US Elections, Trump and Russia
Multiple reports have emerged about Russian hackers breaching and hacking various US systems during the chaotic US elections. Both democrats and congress have accused each other of hiring the said hackers to affect election results. A wide uproar was observed by Americans on the reports of Russian Government’s involvement in the said hacking. The Russian Government was accused of aiding and even initiating the said hacks. President-elect Trump has also suffered multiple hacks on his hotel chain.
The social blogging site famous for its eccentric user-base and quirky posts announced in May that it has been breached but refused to divulge more. After investigative journalists looked into it, more than 65 million accounts were compromised in the said breach. Tumblr is owned by Yahoo which already showcased its terrible security systems.
The Last Nail in MySpace’s Coffin
The world’s biggest social networking site before Facebook conquered the market, MySpace was hacked early in the year. The massive hack resulted in 427 million accounts being stolen. What’s worse is the fact that hacker offered to sell the account information on the Dark Web. The site owned by Time Inc. had only 50 million visitors per month at the time of breach. A significant drop from its prime days.
On October 21st The Domain Name System (DNS) provider Dyn was targeted by major DDoS (distributed denial of services) attacks by a huge botnet. Millions of users during the DDoS attack were unable to access major sites such as Twitter, GitHub, and Netflix went up and down throughout the day. With an estimated load of 1.2 terabits per second, according to the experts the attack is the largest DDoS on record.
Several days later it was learned that the botnet that targeted Dyn consisted of 100,000 household devices (eg. webcams and DVRs) infected with the Mirai malware.
NSA Hacking Tools stolen
In August an anonymous hacker group called Shadow Brokers infiltrated Equation Group and obtained their hacking tools. The said Equation Group is linked to the infamous NSA which is known for massive invasion of user privacy around the globe. The said hacking tools are capable of infecting device firmware via a malware and the malware is capable of remaining in the system even after a complete system refresh and is dubbed impossible to remove.
SWIFT Hack in Bangladesh!
What started as a single attack malware attack against Bangladesh’s Central Bank resulting in huge $81 million dollar ended up rattling up to a dozen banks. The hack targeted SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) transaction software. The attacker used custom malware that exploited SWIFT Software. In July SWIFT was seeking help from outside security professional to deal with widening hacking epidemic.
No matter how bad you consider your 2016 was, it cannot be worse than the companies on this list. For your own safety please ensure that you are using a good antivirus engine and anti-malware program, keep them updated and be careful when browsing the internet. Have a safe 2017!