5 Big & Famous Hacking Incidents

By: Elijah Cook

DDos (distributed denial-of-service) is a huge problem for online businesses that can cause the loss of millions of dollars, sometimes even just for a couple of days. No business is really safe from these cyberattacks. Some of the biggest names in the online world have been affected, including the websites of Amazon, CNN, HostGator, PayPal, Reddit, Twitter, Verizon and Visa. Even the Swedish government was affected. It certainly appears that it will be getting worse in the near future, so that's why many businesses find it worthwhile to invest in security measures in their technological infrastructure. You can learn more at the Carbon60 Networks website for more information about how these security systems work.

Here are 5 famous hacking incidents that you may have heard about:

1. Dyn

Cybercriminals attacked the Domain Name System (DNS) hosting provider Dyn by flooding it with traffic. This was an astounding attack due to the size of the attack. At one point, it measured close to 1 Tbps (TeraBits Per Second) or one BILLION bits per second! Just a few years ago, this would be considered unthinkable. Some of the biggest Internet platforms suddenly became unavailable to millions of users in Europe and North America. Learn more about this incident with the in-depth analyasis at The Hacker News.

2. AdultFriendFinder

AdultFriendFinder is an adult website for like-minded people to meet for sexual encounters. This site has been attacked on more than one occasion. More than 400 million people had their personal information stolen and published. Email addresses, passwords and browser info were able to be collected, among other things. Some of the emails collected included both .gov and .mil email addresses. That means U.S. government staff and U.S. Department of Defense staff had used their work email addresses to join these sites. It also raises the possibility of these workers (who may be anybody, perhaps even high-ranking officials) being blackmailed.

3. Brian Krebs

Brian is a famous security journalist and investigative reporter originally from Alabama. He's a famous name in the industry and covers the topics of cybercrime and data breaches extensively. He initially became interested in this field when he was frozen out of his own computer by a computer worm. Here's a man who knows more about security than most people, yet, his website was hit by a DDoS attack. This was thought to be for retribution for his role in outing some of these cybercriminal activities. In fact, Krebs himself felt that he may have been targeted because of his research of DDoS gangs and had his website taken down at his own request. Two people were arrested and Krebs felt it was as a result of his investigations that led to these arrests.

4. Yahoo

We've all heard of Yahoo and very likely used it as well. This famous technology company was one of the pioneers of the Internet age during the 1990s. The company had suffered a huge data breach on more than one occasion. Some of you may recall that though it came out and admitted this data breach in which about 500 million users may have had information stolen, Yahoo had known about it for about a couple of years. Why they waited so long is still a bit of a mystery. A second data breach was thought to have about an astounding ONE BILLION users' information being stolen!

5. Anonymous

Anonymous is a group that's gained fame for DDoS attacks on government, business and religious websites. In public, they are known to wear Guy Fawkes masks, after Guy Fawkes, the most famous member from the Gunpowder Plot that tried to blow up the House of Lords in London in 1605, for which he was executed. In 2008, the group launched an online protest against the Church of Scientology. The Church had forced YouTube to take down a video of Tom Cruise, the famous actor and Scientologist, discussing Scientology. Anonymous accused the Church of Internet censorship and launched DDoS attacks on Scientology websites.

While it may be incredibly difficult to stop these kinds of attacks, there are things that can be done to at least minimize the risks and gain some security. You can help to prevent them at the firewall level and router level to reduce the risk of flooding from a DDoS attack. Other techniques such as sink holing and black holing can be used to either send traffic from the affected server to an IP address that doesn't exist or using filters to get rid of bad or fake traffic. In the end, it's all about giving you the best chance of protecting yourself from such attacks, which, unfortunately, can still happen.