Top 10 Largest Cyber Attacks

Top 10 of the World’s Largest Cyber Attacks

With cases of cybersecurity threats on the rise, it is now apparent that information systems are not safe anymore, at least not on cyberspace where hackers are actively searching for vulnerabilities so they could launch attacks on them.

Let’s see more about this topic.

Types of Cyber Attacks

Cyber hack refers to the deliberate effort by hackers to access online information systems with the aim of stealing sensitive data or private information and causing disruptions.

The different types of cyber attacks include access attack, denial of service (DDoS), cyber espionage, and cyber terrorism.

Many types of cyber attacks are successful because intruders have at their disposal highly sophisticated tools that facilitate their unethical hacking activities.

Some of these tools include malware, spyware, and Botnet.

Malware attacks are the most common types of cyber attacks.

Successful attacks are usually extremely expensive to mitigate. In 2016, for instance, malicious cyber attacks cost the US $109 billion according to a Bloomberg report.

This is precisely why organizations need effective cybersecurity protocols to protect sensitive data from unauthorized access.

Even so, considering the sophisticated nature and skills of cyber hackers, we are not likely to see the problem go away anytime soon.

In 2016, hackers attacked one of the largest banks in Bangladesh and made away with over $80 million, although their initial target was $1billion (Yes, you read that right), and they would have been successful were it not for a minor typo that sold them out.

If you think the attack on Bangladesh Bank was daring, check out our top 10 of the world’s largest cyber attacks!

You will be amazed at the great lengths cyber hackers can go to attack systems. Read on!

Top 10 Largest Cyber Attacks in the World

Many attacks have taken place recently as indicated on the cyber threat map, but the following are top 10 of the major cyber attacks that have occurred around the world.

10. South Korea Credit Cards Data Compromise

In 2014, it was discovered that credit card data and bank account information of over 20 million South Koreans had been hacked and their private information sold to marketing firms.

What’s interesting about this attack is that the breach was not done by remote hackers but by an employee of the Korea Credit Bureau that had access to databases run by South Korean credit card firms.

That’s not all; the theft did not involve the use of sophisticated tools like we see in Hollywood movies. Actually, man only had to copy the data to a USB drive, just like how Snowden stole his cache of NSA secrets.

This attack compromised banking information of millions of South Koreans and exposed malicious insiders as a threat to data security.

9. MafiaBoy DDoS Attack on Commercial Sites

Who would have ever thought that high-profile commercial sites such as Amazon and Yahoo could be brought down by a teenage boy?

Well, that is what exactly happened in the year 2000 when a 15-year old Michael Calce, also known as MafiaBoy, launched a DDoS attack on Amazon, eBay, CNN, and Yahoo.

It is estimated that the disruption cost $1.7 billion in damages. Apparently, cyber attacks are not limited to old computer nerds; even high school students who have advanced computer skills can paralyze big companies and cause huge financial loses.

According to HeraldSun, Michael Calce now has stepped on the other side of the fence and is now in HP’s cybersecurity team.

8. Scientology Attacked

Speaking of teenagers, in 2008, a group of hackers led by a 19 year old crippled the Church of Scientology with a DDoS attack.

The culprit was found to be Dmitriy Guzner, who was then sentenced to 2 years probation and ordered to compensate the Church of Scientology with $37,500.

7. Yahoo!

Even emails are not so secure these days. In March 2014, Yahoo! came under attack from cybercriminals who gained access to all the 3 billion user accounts! This is the most significant data breach in the history of worldwide cyber attacks.

6. Ashley Madison Data Breach

If your emails can be hacked, what about your profile on a dating site? If you are considering cheating on your spouse thinking that you won’t be found out, think again!

In July 2015, Ashley Madison, whose business involved providing a platform for married people to indulge in extramarital affairs, was attacked by a cyber network of hackers and over 25GB of its data containing user details was leaked on the web.

The hackers demanded a complete shutdown of the company’s ‘unethical’ business, before leaking the data online. This event is one of the biggest data breaches of consumer private information in history.

5. Target Attacked

One of the largest US discount retail chains, Target, was a victim of a large-scale cyber attack in 2013. Sensitive customer data, including banking information, of more than 110 million customers was compromised.

Interestingly, Target was not even aware of this attack until it was brought to their attention by the US secret service, which detected the intrusion and warned the retailer. The hackers sold the data on the black market and consequently, Target was made to pay a settlement totaling over $18 million.

4. Sony PlayStation Network

Sony’s PlayStation Network became a victim of a DDoS attack that put the network offline for approximately 3 weeks. Apparently, hackers took advantage of vulnerabilities in the system and managed to harvest private information, including Credit Card data, of more than 77 million users.

Consequently, the Mega Corporation lost a staggering £171 million after reimbursing customers and implementing anti-fraud protection.

3. Bangladesh Bank Cyber Heist

In February 2016, cyber criminals hacked the SWIFT network and issued 35 fraudulent instructions to withdraw close to $1billion from the Bangladesh Banks’ Federal Reserve Bank (New York) account.

Out of the 35 SWIFT instructions, five went through, transferring $101 million. The remaining instructions were blocked owing to a minor typo. Apparently, the hackers used malware to gain access to the system.

2. WannaCry Ransomware Attack

You’ve probably heard of the notorious Ransomware that encrypts your data until you pay the hackers a fee in Bitcoin, have you? Well, WannaCry was a ransomware attack that emerged in 2017, with attackers demanding for $300 in Bitcoin.

Failure to pay the amount in 3 days, the penalty doubled to $600, and if you fail to make the payment within 7 days, the encrypted files are deleted. The WannaCry ransomware attack has caused damages worth more than $4 billion.

1. NetSky and Sasser Worms

Sven Jaschan released two worms in 2005 that devastated computers through a DDoS attack for the better part of that year. In fact, about 25% of all virus reports in that year were caused by Jaschan’s worms that caused a DDoS attack on the system.

Jaschan’s viruses are believed to have caused more than $20 billion dollars in damages.


Therefore, there is a need for organizations to implement tight cybersecurity to protect sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands.

10 Cybersecurity Essentials Before Investing in Machine Learning
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Businesses such as a mobile casino, betting platforms, commercial sites, etc., that require credit card information to process payments from customers are at a high risk of cyber attacks.

Prevention and protection is the best policy, therefore it is highly important that you do business with companies that enforce a strong level of protection.

You may be also interested to read about the 10 biggest data breaches of all times till date.

About teninfo (The Educational Network) combines the pursuit of interesting and intriguing facts with the innate human desire to rank and list things. From its humble beginnings in 2006 up until now, has served millions of hungry minds.

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