News From WikiLeaks to Facebook: the ten most devastating cyber...

From WikiLeaks to Facebook: the ten most devastating cyber attacks of the last decade


Cyber ​​attacks have experienced tremendous growth in the last ten years. And, evidently, its effects have been noticed in Spain. So much so, that the country is in the top 10 countries affected by password theft software in 2019 and was subjected to 73 million attempts to “malware” (computer virus) infection during the same year.

Not all attacks have had the same impact, but there have been some that have marked a before and after in cybersecurity. That is why the Kaspersky company has collected the largest cyberattacks worldwide that have occurred in the last 10 years.

In 2010, the case of WikiLeaks was the most popular of that year. It all started in November, when 251,287 diplomatic telegrams exchanged between more than 250 US embassies and the United States Department were published. Within these leaks there were more than 55,000 cables emitted from Spain or addressed to US delegations in the country.

Playstation network
The second highlighted case occurred in April 2011 and affected the PlayStation Network service. Because of a breach, the names, emails and access data of approximately 77 million people were exposed.

This attack caused the online game purchase service to stop working for a week. In addition, as they point out from the cybersecurity company, PlayStation never ruled out that its users’ bank details had been stolen.

In August 2012, it was the Dropbox cloud data storage service that suffered the attack. The company reported that the emails of its users had been exposed, four years later it was learned, thanks to Leakbase, that account passwords had also been stolen.

More than 68 million users were affected by Dropbox hacking. As they explain from Kaspersky, hackers were able to enter these accounts because one of the Dropbox employees used their professional password on LinkedIn.

Precisely in early 2012 LinkedIn had suffered an attack, so that hackers had access to the employee’s password and used it to access the internal Dropbox network.

The case of the US Target shopping center, which it had in December 2013, is also one of the most important cyber attacks in the last ten years. Around 70 million customers suffered the theft of their personal information (such as name or phone numbers), and at least 40 million victims also saw their bank data stolen.

What caused this attack to be so massive is that hackers infected the Target system with a PoS virus, which affects point-of-sale terminals (credit / debit card readers and cash registers) during the shopping season before Christmas.

Another of the most prominent attacks occurred in May 2014 when the accounts of 145 million eBay users were “hacked.” Cybercriminals were able to enter the company’s system through unauthorized access to the passwords of some employees.

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The attackers were made with customer names, passwords, addresses, phone numbers and other personal data. eBay was highly criticized for the time it took to notify its customers of what happened, as they point out from Kaspersky.

US voters
A year after the attack on eBay, in December, a personal database of US voters was attacked. The personal information of 191 million people, almost 60 percent of the population, was posted online by a marketing company hired by the Republican National Committee, during the Donald Trump campaign. Data such as names, addresses, party affiliations, religion and even their positioning on controversial issues were accessible on the web.

In November 2016, LeakedSource made public the theft of personal data from more than 412 million Friend Finder accounts, which were exposed on the black market. Being an adult website, the impact of the attack also caused several of those affected to be victims of extortion.

Uber was also the subject of an attack in October 2017, although it was unveiled in November 2017, which affected 57 million of its customers. The company itself paid two “hackers” one hundred thousand dollars to eliminate all the stolen data and hide the cyber attack. The attack also exposed personal information of 7 million Uber drivers.

Cambridge Anlytica
The following case occurred in the framework of the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, but it was not until March 2018 when the data analytics company Cambridge Analytica showed how data theft can be used in politics, specifically, to influence The result of the elections.

Cambridge Analytica had used the information of 50 million Facebook profiles without consent, in order to identify user behavior patterns and tastes for use in Donald Trump’s political propaganda.

Facebook again
The most recent case highlighted was that of Facebook, in March 2019. Nearly 419 million telephone numbers and user identification in the social network were stored on an unprotected online server.

Although these data are not as sensitive as the financial data, from the cybersecurity company they point out that telephone numbers can be used to carry out campaigns of “spam”, “phishing” or fraud related to the SIM card.

Technological advances have meant that both the variety and the number of cyberattacks have not stopped growing. According to data collected by Kaspersky Security Network during 2019 in Spain there were more than 73 million attempts of “malware”, which means 1.57 attacks per citizen.

19 percent of users of Kaspersky’s solutions were subject to phishing attacks, while attacks using password theft software affected more than 52,000 users. This latest figure places Spain in the top 10 of the countries with the highest incidence of such attacks, according to the company. .


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