Top 20 Most Harmful Website Hacks of All Time

Computers have been around for more than 60 years, and even during the formative years of computer development, there has always been a history of hacking.

For old-timers who used mainframes, hacking was a way of playing around the machine, of proving to your peers that you were better than they were. This was one outlet for these highly intelligent individuals to blow off steam, at the same time push the boundaries of what they can do with the computer.

Unfortunately, the happy state of the intellectual pursuit of hacking started to give way to a sinister side during the 1960’s and 1970’s when a new type of white collar crime came about: computer crimes.

The most common type of computer crime was that of misappropriating funds. This was usually done by just adding a name to the check printing program. Of course, this type of embezzlement was quickly found out.

Other documented cases involved skimming money from countless transactions and having these automatically deposited into a bank account.

The money was usually in fractions of a cent which came about due to currency conversions or from fractional values in the accounting program. Instead of going into the ledger as statistical error, this was siphoned off and put into an account for later withdrawal.

Here is a list of twenty most harmful website hackings:

1. Citibank Wire Transfer Service, 1994

ArkanoID supposedly had no plans of any wrong doing, however, another Russian, Vladimir Levin was able to get the login details from one of ArkanoID’s group members. Levin was able to access the accounts of several of Citibank’s corporate clients and transferred funds to accounts in the United States, Israel and Europe.

2. The Love Bug virus

That is, to get into the computer and transfer data. The only difference is that today’s worms are designed not to get caught. The damage brought about by the Love Bug virus is estimated to be in excess of $10 billion across at least 20 countries.

3. “Mafiaboy” Hacks

4. Los Angeles KIIS-FM

5. NASA and Department of Defense, 1999

6. NASA, 2001–2002

7. DEC network hack

He was later caught and convicted but was able to escape before being caught again, this time for good. He now works as a computer and network security expert with his own company, Mitnick Security Consulting, LLC.

8. New York Times and Microsoft

For hacking the New York Times, he was sentenced to six months of home confinement and another two years probation. Additionally, he was to pay $65,000 for damages.

9. Estonia DDoS, 2007

With lots of computers sending requests to a single web server, the server is swamped, could not serve web pages and then grounds to a halt. A case in point was the DDoS attack on Estonia in 2007. It started out as a retaliation for a plan to move a World War II memorial.

The original plan was to attack an Estonian newspaper and shut it down via a DDoS. However, the perpetrators did not know how much is too much, and the number of computers used in the attack forced the whole country of Estonia to an internet standstill.

Since then, more and larger websites have been under DDoS attacks. Sites such as Yahoo, Twitter and Google have undergone DDoS attacks. Additionally, there have been smaller sites using WordPress which have also been blacked out due to DDoS attacks.

In recent years, hacking has been used as a political tool or as a form of activism. Some groups which uses hactivism are Anonymous, Lulzsec, TeaMp0isoN and WikiLeaks. Countries like China, Pakistan, Russia, Iran and the United States have used hacking in one form or another.

Continuing the list are some well-publicized hacking perpetrated by hacktivists and by nation-states.

10. Stuxnet

11. Sony

12. GMail

13. Electronic Arts

14. German Federal Police

15. National Center for Computer Crime and the Protection of Critical Infrastructure (an Italian Police agency). Up to 8GB of internal data pertaining to ongoing investigations were stolen.

16. Citigroup Japan

17. Research In Motion

18. Hong Kong Stock Exchange

19. U.S. Military

20. Syrian Government

In some instances, these were crimes of opportunity. In other instances, these were done by hacking other’s accounts. Nowadays, hacking has progressed to using more complex methods.

During the past twenty years or so, there have been a lot of harmful hacks. Any list of the biggest or the most harmful website hacking would be incomplete because of the very nature of hacking.

It is very possible that there are a lot of website hackings which did not get on the news because the victims didn’t notice it or they did not want the publicity.

Similar post -

Hi, I am passionate technical researcher & writer, skilled in writing about web, app, UX/UI development, technologies,e-learning,webrtc & more.