Massive and shocking cyberattacks came to light in 2016. Major tech firms, government organisations and even political parties were hit with multiple high-profile attacks. Mega breaches, both old and new, resulted in dark web marketplaces flooded with sensitive and personal information of millions of consumers.
During the year, the massive breach at Yahoo was revealed. Even high-profile intelligence services such as the NSA were not impervious to vulnerabilities. As the year draws to a close, cybercrime evolved and escalated.
IBTimes UKrecaps the biggest and most shocking hacks that surfaced in 2016. Here are the top 10 massive cyberattacks:
1 billion Yahoo hack
Yahoo revealed that it was hit by two cyberattacks. While the first, suspected to be the work of state-sponsored hackers, saw 500,000 million user credentials stolen in 2014, the second disclosure from the tech giant said that an unprecedented nearly one billion records were stolen in 2013. The hack is considered one of the biggest attacks and has left the firm grappling with the fallout. It has also affected its much talked about deal with Verizon.
Old breaches come back to haunt - LinkedIn, Dropbox, Tumblr and TalkTalk hacks
Although these cyberattacks didn't take place in 2016, the public discovered the actual scope of the damage and details of the attacks only this year. Several old data breaches surfaced this year, but none caused as much concern as the LinkedIn, Dropbox and the Tumblr hacks.
Earlier in the year it was uncovered that the LinkedIn data breach, which was previously thought to have affected six million users, actually hit nearly all of its 117 million customers. Tumblr and Dropbox closely followed LinkedIn in divulging that data breaches left millions of their customers' data stolen and possibly leaked.
A pseudonymous hacker going by the name Tessa88 has allegedly been linked to the cyberattacks. However, the identity of the hacker/hackers responsible for the attacks still remains unknown.
The TalkTalk hack saw over 150,000 customer records and over 15,000 bank accounts accessed by hackers. In the latest development, a 17-year-old boy has admitted to having played a role in the attack which hit the UK telecom giant in 2015.
Adult FriendFinder hack
Among the fresh hacks that made the headlines this year, the FriendFinder breach was one of the most controversial. The cyberattack on the adult dating site saw sensitive data of over 400 million users exposed.
Suspected Russian hackers Fancy Bear hack US elections
The cyber assault on the DNC (Democratic National Committee) is considered the hack of the year. The attack, suspected to have been carried out by Russian state-sponsored hacker group Fancy Bear, saw email accounts of senior party officials as well as Hillary Clinton campaign chief John Podesta hacked.
The hacked data was unceremoniously dumped online by WikiLeaks, which many believe, dealt a major blow to the Clinton campaign, and gave a big boost to Donald Trump in the 2016 US presidential elections.
US intelligence services, including the CIA, NSA, DIA as well as the FBI have come to an agreement, after a long drawn out debate and analysis, that the election cyberattacks were perpetrated by Russia, in efforts to undermine American democracy and to aid Trump to the White House.
Shadow Brokers NSA hack
Hackers hit even the NSA. A mysterious hacker group called Shadow Brokers claimed responsibility for having hacked potent cyberweapons, which they claim came from the NSA's elite hacking team, the Equation Group.
Shadow Brokers then leaked part of their cyber-loot online. The group was last seen attempting to sell the cyberweapons on an underground forum.
Swift Bangladesh Bank hack
The Bangladesh Bank hack is by far one of the most successful cyberheists to occur this year. The attack saw hackers break into Swift, the commonly used financial communications system, to access the bank's internal systems and steal nearly $1bn. Although some of the stolen money was recovered, the hackers will still able to make away with $81m, which authorities are attempting to locate and recover.
Although not technically considered a hack, the Europol data breach saw a former agent leak "historical" amounts of classified data, pertaining to over 50 terrorism investigations. More than 700 pages of information were exposed. The data leak came on the heels of the EU's legislative body, the European Commission (EC), being targeted by a massive cyberattack, which briefly knocked its website and computer systems offline.