Saturday, 31 December 2016 15:40

2016 Cybercrime and Worst Hacks: Year in Review

By: 

It has already been a record-setting year for hacking scandals, and the headlines show no signs of slowing as we reach the end of 2016. Today's hack of Netflix's Twitter account by hacking collective OurMine is only the latest development in a year that has seen digital security become an issue of national security and election year politics.

OurMine, which is "a self-described white hat security group," said it was just testing Netflix security. The group suggested Netflix contact it to find out more about the hack. OurMine tweeted its message this morning, along with an email address and logo, to the nearly 2.5 million Twitter followers of @netflix, which is Netflix's U.S. account. "At least two more hacked tweets were sent. All of them have since been deleted, presumably by the Netflix social media team," according to CNET.

In previous years, most network intrusions have targeted enterprises and large corporations. But this year we saw a much more diverse field of victims, ranging from celebrities, technology CEOs, political parties, and even the Olympics.

More Political Hacks

Perhaps one of the most disturbing trends in 2016 has been the increased use of hacking to achieve geopolitical goals. Hacking groups linked to either the Kremlin or Russian president Vladimir Putin have been accused of reverting to Cold War tactics to weaken and delegitimize countries seen as political rivals.

A hack of the World Anti-Doping Agency's database, resulting in the publication of private medical records for several U.S. athletes, was attributed to a group of Russian hackers going by the names "Team Tsar" and "Fancy Bear." The group was also accused of hacking the Democratic Party’s network to find embarrassing information about then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

The attack against the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign appear to have been part of an orchestrated effort by Russia to use cyberwarfare to undermine the U.S. electoral process. While it's impossible to say what, if any, effect the hack had on the election of Donald Trump, the hack has escalated tensions between the two countries and caused no small amount of alarm within the U.S. intelligence community.

And it isn't just national security that was in the spotlight in 2016. The year also saw a big jump in ransomware attacks, with individuals being targeted by hackers who encrypt their data in to extort cash out of them. Perhaps the largest such attack this year featured the San Francisco transit system, which was targeted by a ransomware attack that resulted in travelers receiving free rides over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Individuals in the Crosshairs

Several high-profile individuals in the technology sector have also been targets of attacks this year, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai. And Twitter's former CEO Dick Costolo and current CEO Jack Dorsey also suffered from hacks.

Most of these attacks seem to have come from well-known hacking collectives such as OurMine. But an independent hacker going by the handle "Lid" was able to hijack the Twitter account of Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe.

Hacks weren't just about digital defacement and a chance to embarrass political opponents, though. This year also saw the second largest bitcoin hack in history, resulting in the theft of more than $65 million of the cryptocurrency.

But it wasn't just digital currency that was stolen this year. A gang of Russian hackers also managed to break into more than 330,000 point-of-sale machines running software by Micros, an Oracle company. The hack hit cash registers used in food chains, hotels and retail stores.

And speaking of hotels, the U.S. hospitality industry suffered one of its largest hacks ever when 20 hotels owned by HEI Hotels and Resorts discovered malware running on point-of-sale machines used throughout the country. That hack may have resulted in the theft of customer data including account and credit card numbers.

This year there was even information about past traditional hacks involving the theft of users' email addresses and login information. Yahoo reported that in 2013, it suffered the largest breach in history, involving more than 1 billion user accounts. That exceeds the hack of 500 million accounts in 2014 that the company also reported this year.

Author: Jef Cozza
Source: http://www.toptechnews.com/article/index.php?story_id=132004JYDLHC

Leave a comment

Get Exclusive Research Tips in Your Inbox

Receive Great tips via email, enter your email to Subscribe.
Please wait

airs logo

Association of Internet Research Specialists is the world's leading community for the Internet Research Specialist and provide a Unified Platform that delivers, Education, Training and Certification for Online Research.

Newsletter Subscription

Receive Great tips via email, enter your email to Subscribe.
Please wait

Follow Us on Social Media

Book Your Seat for Webinar GET FREE REGISTRATION FOR MEMBERS ONLY      Register Now