10 Worst Cyber Crimes In History
Cyber crimes are the crimes that occur in the domain of Information Technology. With the growth of Information Technology, we have been able to make outstanding achievements in different fields. However, there has been a surge in cyber crimes too! Many such cyber crimes have been recorded in history till date of which these ten must be mentioned:
10. Sven Jaschn
Sven Jaschn and his virus: In the year 2004, an eighteen-year old student called Sven Jaschan from Germany released a dangerous virus, causing damages worth $500 million dollars. 70% of the infections that occurred in the systems worldwide in the first part of that year were the results of this virus. Among the various systems that were destroyed Delta Air Lines’ computer system was also included. Jaschn can be called a genius on account of his talents but he used his brains in a wrong way. He was, in fact, charged a fine of $250,000 by Microsoft for his misdeeds and captivated for computer sabotage and illegal alteration of data. In the case filed against him, however, he was treated as a minor since he had created the virus before turning 18!
9. Moonlight Maze
Moonlight Maze: This cyber crime dates back to 1998 and it gets its name from the FBI enquiry for the same. A group of hackers infiltrated Amercian computer systems. Their activities were accidentally discovered by the US officials and a mainframe computer from Russia was held responsible (though Russia denied it) for it. The military maps and schematics were mainly targeted. This crime is distinct from the others in the respect that the other cyber criminals mainly aim at stealing money, but here the criminals were concerned about stealing important data and documents.
A pattern of probing the computer systems was basically discovered at Pentagon, NASA, Energy Department, private universities and also a few research labs where several important documents were stored. Thousands of files were destroyed in the process and military infrastructures such as military installations, troop configurations and military hardware designs were largely affected. U.S. intelligence is still investigating the case of Moonlight Maze.
8. Mafiaboy and his Crimes
Mafiaboy and his Crimes: In the year 2000, Michael Calce from West Island managed to hack the high security systems of a few reputed companies. The total damages caused by him were worth 1.2 billion. He is famous, or rather infamous in the history of cyber crime for doing these at a very young age. He is known by the name “Mafiaboy” since he was 15. He launched a cyber attack at that age itself. He literally brought down the websites of Amazon, Yahoo, CNN, Dell and eBay! Even the New York Stock Exchange suffered since many had invested in these companies. Michael, however, considers his attack to be a positive one and claims that there were no monetary motives behind them. He has been hacking systems since he was of nine years and has the ability to hack a number of websites within just a few hours.
His attack was like a wake-up call to the nation and the then president Bill Clinton convened a cyber security working group. A manhunt for Calce was announced and FBI was looking for him. Today he is a white-head hacker who is hired by the different companies to find out the flaws in their security systems and work for the enhancement of the same. Not only does he feel proud of his present activities that have a positive impact on the nation but also believes in the positivity of his past activities since they helped the concerned authorities to identify the flaws in the cyber security systems and become more protective.
7. Cyber Crime during Cold War
Cyber Crime during Cold War: The Original Logic Bomb which was a part of the tactics of Cold War (1982) has been one of the biggest cyber crimes in the history. It was meant for disrupting a gas pipeline in Siberia. Instead of using the conventional destroyers like missiles and bombs, CIA used this method of Cyber crime for the purpose, and hence the name “Logic Bomb”. The pipeline was destroyed using a portion of the code in the system which controlled the operation of the same. The magnitude of this explosion was one-seventh of the atom bombs dropped in Japan during World War II.
The reasons for this cyber crime are still not clear. A KGB spy called Vladimir Vetrov was charged for leaking confidential documents to a French spy who in turn shared them with CIA. It was not only one of the biggest cyber crimes in history, but also one of the greatest counter-intelligence attacks in U.S. Cold War.
6. TJX Cyber Crime Case
TJX is the name of a Massachusettes-based retailing company and owner of TJ Maxx and Marshalls that was robbed of valuable credit and debit information. It was among the many companies that were hacked by Albert Gonzales by a team from Shadowcrew. The total loss was worth 90 million which the hackers used for buying electronics goods and related items for professional usage.
Gonzales, the hacker, was charged $25,000 for this and was also given a jail term of about 20 years. This is the lengthiest jail term in a cyber crime case so far. His punishment was reduced on account of his Asperger’s disorder and also since he was apologetic of what he had done and helped the probers to gather important information.
5. Crime at the Presidential level of US
The computer systems used in the campaigns of Barrack Obama and John McCain were attacked by hackers (suspected to be from China or Russia) in order to steal important mails and data used in these campaigns. It occurred in 2008 when Barrack Obama and John McCain were the two presidential candidates. Their activities were soon traced and Chinese officials were warned for refraining from such activities. This cyber crime depicted the China-US cyber competition and is regarded as one of the biggest cyber crimes at the east-west level.
4. Hacking at Anthem
Hacking at Anthem: Last year, during the month of February, the health insurer company called Anthem, formerly known as Wellpoint was hacked by a group of unknown hackers. About 80 billion records were hacked which mainly comprised health plans like Amerigroup, Blue Shield and Anthem Blue Cross. It is feared that these data would be used for the purpose of identity theft. The data breach even affected the CEO of the company and various data such as birthdays, addresses, contacts and emails were hacked. Chinese hackers were mainly held responsible for this.
3. Data Breach in Epsilon
Data Breach in Epsilon: Epsilon, the world’s largest marketing and handling service-provider has also been the victim of cyber crimes. The total damages suffered by it was somewhere in between $225 million to $4 billion dollars. The motive behind the hacking was to collect the e-mail addresses of people which they used for conducting criminal activities. It is said that Epsilon had been warned about the possibilities of a phishing and hacking attack a few months before it actually took place. Still it could not take proper measures to prevent the crime. The crime could be conducted easily since it made use of the weakest link in IT security, called as the end-user ignorance.
This data breach had its origin in the social engineering attacks on the Epsilon employees and severely affected customers from a wide range of industries. It was the e-mail based phishing attacks that were used to target the employees.
2. Sony Cyber Crime
Sony Cyber Crime: In 2011, hackers stole millions of playstation networks and Sony Online Entertainment accounts with valuable credit and debit information. The total damages imposed were worth $1-$2 billion. Since this was a long-term attack, the system took a lot of time to recover. The incident brought forward many important points about the present scenario, such as the high value of personal data, the fact that no organization or company is above cyber crime and the planned and organized nature of a cyber crime.
1. Titan Rain
Titan Rain: This cyber crime was about a series of coordinated “cyber raids”. According to FBI, these attacks originated in the government-supported cells of China. People’s Liberation Army is one of the prime suspects in this respect. The attacks began in the year 2003 and continued for three successive years. The real identity of these attacks- whether hidden by zombie computer or infected by proxy or virus or spyware is still not known. It is believed that the attacks were accompanied with an Advanced Persistent Threat. It is the Titan Rain that is responsible for a clash between USA and China. US pointed towards the involvement of China in this case though China denied the same.
So, these are the ten worst cyber crimes in the history which caused loss both with respect to money and valuable assets. They exposed private information of thousands of people across the world and were no less destructive than physical crimes.