From the Origins of Hacking to the recent Heartbleed
One of the most prevalent and malicious threat in the history of cyber-attacks has been recorded recently, what’s universally being called as the Heartbleed bug. The primary targets of the bug include all the popular social networks including Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram etc. as well as the leading corporates such as Microsoft, Apple, and Google. The damage spoilated by the bug may include heinous thefts of all the sensitive accounts information associated with the affected sites (such as passwords and credit card numbers).
A computer hacker can be defined as someone whose life revolves around the computers. Who knows everything about computers, make computer do anything. A hacker is an aesthete. There are basically 3 categories of computer hacking.
- An algorithm hacker, who knows all about the algorithms for any problem.
- A system hacker, who knows how to design and maintain operating systems.
- A password hacker, who know how to sabotage your system and snatch away your passwords.
While heatbleed may have ripped the hearts of millions (just a Figure of speech), it isn’t the first time, the act of treason in form of Hacking has been performed on such a massive scale in the lifespan of internet or more anciently, the communication. Over the course of history, hacking has not only been used as an abuse but at time it also served nations to protect their sovereignty. To commiserate your grievances over the recent loss, thanks to heartbleed, a chronological list of similarly colossal episodes of hacking has been compiled here that jolted the cyber world from time to time.
April 4: HeartBleed, (Doesn’t need any description but still) an extensive breach caused by the massive bug called Heartbleed in the OpenSSL technology which affected the encryption for two-thirds of the web and was surprisingly active for the last two years until its notice in the last week.
February 7: Mt.Gox got hacked and 850,000 bitcoins associated with the company and the customers got stolen. With the highest price of a single Bitcoin estimated to be $1,242, a total of $1 Billion theft was recorded.
February 18: February seems to be the month of hackers. Not a substantial damage but worth mentioning, the Burger King's Twitter account got hacked with McDonald's logo. The reason told by the Anonymous hacker was due to the horse meat scandal in Europe. Hacking was performed by an account named "iThug" which got was suspended later on.
January: A Saudi hacker, by the alias 0xOmar, published more than 400,000 credit cards credentials online, and threatened Israel to target it with a release of 1 million Israel’s credit cards in the future. As a reaction, an Israeli hacker published around 200 Saudi credit cards online.
February 8: Again in February, Foxconn was hacked by a hacker group, named Swagg Security. Massive amount of data including emails and server passwords, and even the bank account credentials of major corporates like Apple and Microsoft were hacked and stolen.
October 7: Swagg Security once again launched hacking and this time targeted the Farmers Insurance, MasterCard, and several other high-level government sites. They released thousands of user ID’s and passwords along with other confidential information.
April 9: Bank Of America website got hacked by a Turkish hacker named JeOPaRDY. An estimated 85,000 credit card numbers and accounts were reported to have been stolen due to the hack. Investigations are being conducted by the F.B.I to trace down the incriminated hacker.
April 17: An intrusion puts the PlayStation Network status “offline”, along with a massive identification theft including credit card details of the 77 million active users of PlayStation network. The breach has been claimed as one of the five largest data hacks ever.
In the same year, an elite hacker by the name “sl1nk” released information regarding his infiltration into the servers of the Department of Defense (DoD), Pentagon, NASA, NSA, US Military, other UK security agencies websites.
September: a Bangladeshi hacker by the name “[email protected]” made the biggest defacement in the history of internet by hacking 700,000 websites in a single shot.
January 12: Operation Aurora Google announced in a press release that it was vulnerable to a "highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google".
April 4: Millions of PCs were intruded worldwide by Conficker worm which included numerous governments top-notch -security networks.
March 7: A group of 20 Chinese hackers claimed to have penetrated and literally owned access to the world's most sensitive websites, including The Pentagon. Their origin of operation was from a bare apartment on a Chinese island.
June 13: An FBI Operation Bot Roast discovers over 1 million victims affected by botnet.
June 21: A spear phishing incident steals sensitive U.S. defense information from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, which led to significant changes in identity and message-source verification at the OSD.
May: Largest Defacement in the record of cyber history was performed by the Turkish hacker iSKORPiTX. The hacker successfully hacked 21,549 websites in one shot.
July: North Korea claimed to have officially trained a cyber-army comprising of 500 hackers who could adeptly crack in the South Korean, Japanese, and other enemy computer systems.
In 2001, Microsoft became the key target of a newly developed type of hack that attacked the domain name server. Users to Microsoft's Web sites were badly affected by this hack.
May: U.S. and Chinese hackers engage in cyber skirmishes due to the elevated tensions in Sino-American diplomatic relations. Cyber historians named it as "The Sixth Cyberwar".
February: Lasting for three days, hackers attacked and brought down the servers of leading Web sites including Yahoo!, Amazon.com, Buy.com, eBay and CNN.com. The attacks involved "Denial of Service" hacktools which caused extensive overloading of the sites servers.
May: The ILOVEYOU worm, aka VBS/Loveletter and Love Bug worm, outbroke infecting millions of computers throughout the world within a few hours of its release. It is categorized as one of the most damaging worms ever. It is said to have originated from Philippines and was made by an AMA Computer College student for his thesis.
U.S. President Bill Clinton announced a $1.46 billion initiative to help and improve government computer security networks. A network of intrusion detection monitors were installed for certain federal agencies.
March: The Melissa worm was released which rapidly became the most costly malware outbreak to date.
September: Level Seven hacked The US Embassy in China's Website and placed anti-government slogans in regards to the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings.
A 15-year-old Croatian hacker penetrated into the computer networks situated in the U.S. Air Force base in Guam.
In the same year the very first high-profile attacks on Microsoft's Windows NT operating systems were recorded.
August: Hackers penetrated and maligned the Web sites of the United States Department of Justice, the CIA in October, and the U.S. Air Force in December.
Another record stated that hackers attempted to break into Defense Department computer files for over 250,000 times in 1995 alone. Of which 65 percent of the attempts were reported to be successful.
Summer: Russian hackers drew $10 million from Citibank and transferred the money to bank accounts around the world. Reportedly, hacker named Vladimir Levin, used his work laptop after hours to transfer funds to various accounts in Finland and Israel.
The Computer Misuse Act 1990 was passed in the United Kingdom, outlawing any unauthorized attempt to access computer systems.
First National Bank of Chicago became the victim of hackers costing it a $70-million computer theft.
The Comprehensive Crime Control Act gave the Secret Service jurisdiction to pursue computer frauds
The 414s broke into 60 computer systems at different institutions ranging from the Los Alamos Laboratories to Manhattan's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The incident was reported as the first ever attempt of hacking.
A 21-year old Bill Gates wrote an open letter to Hobbyists, in which he condemned the open source and software piracy.
MIT became home to the first ever computer hackers, who began altering software as well as hardware in order to make them work faster and efficiently.
William D. Mathews from MIT found vulnerability in a Multics CTSS running on an IBM 7094. This flaw disclosed the contents of the password file. As a result it would inexplicably cause the system to display the contents to any user logging into the system.
French computer expert René Carmille, hacked the punched card used by the Nazis to locate Jews.
Polish cryptologists Marian Rejewski, Henryk Zygalski and Jerzy Różycki broke the Enigma machine code.
For the very first time in the history of communication, Magician and inventor Nevil Maskelyne disrupted John Ambrose Fleming's public demonstration of Guglielmo Marconi's purportedly secure wireless telegraphy technology, by sending insulting Morse code messages through the auditorium's projector.