With news breaking that the U.S. Government was hacked this week, exposing over 4 million former and current employees’ personal information, it is the latest in a long tradition of increasingly dangerous hacks on American’s privacy. Though initial reports indicated China may have been responsible for this hack, the country has denied involvement in what is being billed as the largest hack against the U.S. in its history.
Still, these sorts of attacks are becoming more commonplace, and this likely won’t be the last attack of this sort against Americans. A brief look at some of the more notable attacks over the last ten years reveals criminals aren’t struggling to find holes in American’s security systems.
- Sony Pictures was hacked in December, 2014, and the perpetrators released personal information of Sony employees and their families, emails between co-workers, salaries, and even unreleased films. It was believed that North Korea was behind this hack as a preemptive attack ahead of the release of the film The Interview.
- Later that same month, a distributed denial of service (DDos) attack hit Sony’s PlayStation Network and Microsoft’s Xbox Live services. These services enable gamers to play online with their friends, download games and movies, and even stay in touch with family over Skype. This hack affected many users who tried to Skype with their family members across the country, but were unable to due to the network being shut down.
- In 2011, a group called Anonymous hacked into the systems of IT security firms HB Gary Federal and HB Gary Inc, publishing thousands of documents, including personal information and emails.
- Later in 2011, Sony’s PlayStation Network was hacked and lost names, passwords, emails, and home addresses of many of its customers. It was claimed that the attack compromised over one million accounts, though Sony claimed the number was far lower.
- Perhaps one of the largest hacks of the last decade for Americans, Albert Gonzalez acted as the leader of a group that stole more than 90 million credit and debit card numbers from 2005-2007. The group targeted major retailers including OfficeMax and Dave & Buster’s. Gonzalez was sent to two concurrent 20-year prison sentences, the longest the U.S. had ever imposed for hacking or cyber crime.
The fallout of the latest attack against the U.S. Government may not be known for days, but it is clear that cyber criminals are not afraid to hack into American systems. With alleged perpetrators transitioning from individuals targeting credit card numbers to countries looking to harm millions of Americans, the threats have grown in strength over the last decade, and are not likely to let up anytime soon.
[Image via Yahoo!]