Hacked Hall of Fame: Lessons Learned From the Biggest Cyber Breaches of 2016

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2016 brought cybersecurity to the forefront. One can’t turn on the nightly news without hearing about some massive data breach.  Presently, the news is dominated by the alleged Russian hack—which has called into question our democratic process.

The cyber criminals keep upping the ante, with increasingly sophisticated tactics leading to larger spoils. To get an idea of the 2016 threat landscape, check out these stats:

Ransomware and other hacking schemes affect everyone. Organizations have a responsibility to take measures to ensure that sensitive data is kept safe.

Highlights of Biggest Cyber Attacks

Here are some of the larger cyber attacks of the past year:

  • SWIFT. No surprise that financial institutions are prime targets, and SWIFT, the system banks use to send payment messages, is no exception.  In February, hackers stole $81 million from member, Bangladesh’s Central Bank. The criminals used SWIFT credentials swiped from a bank employee to transfer funds to accounts throughout Asia.
  • Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center. The hospital’s computer system was infected with ransomware, with criminals demanding 3.6 million in bitcoins.  This attack had real-life ramifications for patients, as computers are used for documenting patient care, transmitting lab work, sharing x-rays, and more. The hospital ponied up $17,000 for a decryption key to restore the systems.
  • Yahoo. In September, Yahoo announced that over 500 million accounts were compromised.  Names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, passwords and even answers to security questions were stolen.
  • LinkedIn had 117 million accounts hacked.  Part of the problem was embarrassingly easy passwords to crack, such as 123456 and linkedin.
  • San Francisco Public Railway (MUNI). MUNI’s system was infected with malware, locking kiosks and computers.  Apparently, an IT admin clicked on a link that downloaded the malware files. Hackers claim they have 30GB of stolen data, including information about employees and riders.