The Seven Craziest Cyber Crimes of All Time

Although public internet and search engines have been with us for many years, not everyone knows all the things there are to know about them. Hence, analysis of malware, optimizing network services, accessing a backbone network, or staying safe from cybercrimes can become challenging for many people. The main problem with this is that it exposes everyone to a Google Chrome hack or any other cyber-attacks that aim to steal their personal information or money.

Learning about cybercrimes helps you understand how they work and how you can stay safe from them. Dive into this page to know the seven craziest cybercrimes of all time! You can also visit our website to read other cyber-security-related articles!

#1 Melissa Virus

There are many reasons why the Melissa virus is on top of this list; the first is because it was the first cyber-attack aimed to scam people the way it did it. Although the strategy of this virus’s creator is common now, it wasn’t at that time. Apart from that, the Melissa virus made companies lose $80 million in collective damages since its spread caused many corporations to shut down or lose their computer systems. David Lee Smith developed the Melissa virus in March 1999, and its name comes from a Florida stripper. However, Smith didn’t create this virus to either steal money or personal information.

The way the malware works is simpler than others on this list since it only used an AOL account to offer a document with free passwords to paid adult content websites. Naturally, that document didn’t have those passwords but the virus, which reproduced itself and damaged the computer systems where it got. No one knows why Smith developed this virus, but many people think it was just to see if he could do it.

#2 WannaCry Ransomware Attack

Some cybercrimes become famous for the circumstances in which they happen instead of due to stealing a lot of money or something similar, and the WannaCry Ransomware Attack is one of the former. This problem started to spread in May 2007. In a nutshell, this cyber-attack consisted of victims falling for email phishing and accidentally downloading a ransomware worm. When this happened, the worm would start encrypting and blocking the files on the victim’s computer.

After that, a ransomware notice would appear on the computer’s screen asking for money in Bitcoin to decrypt those files or not publish them. Hackers didn’t ask for an outrageous amount of money and instead asked for $300 in Bitcoin or a bit more in some cases. The payment always had to be in Bitcoin since you can’t reverse a crypto transaction, which made it easier for them to keep the money they took from you.

Why is WannaCry that popular? Because its story is directly related to the United States National Security Agency (NSA) and the North Korean Government. Everything comes from an exploit developed by the NSA called EternalBlue. This exploit used a flaw in Microsoft Windows’s Server Message Block (SMB) feature and got into its server of nodes to execute arbitrary codes. EternalBlue, which was meant to be used as a governmental hacking tool, was stolen from the NSA and leaked. The creators of WannaCry used that exploit to spread their ransomware worm across the world, and although it’s said the NSA noticed its existence before others, no one from the agency reported the exploit.

Once Microsoft Office patched the SMB exploit, WannaCry had already made a lot of damage, and it didn’t even patch it well enough to stop it everywhere since the worm was still active in many computer systems worldwide. Most people believe the Lazarus Group was responsible for the WannaCry cyber-attacks. The Lazarus Group is believed to be linked to the North-Korean government.

#3 Aurora Cyber Attacks

Also known as Operation Aurora, the Aurora Cyber-Attacks were mainly directed at the Google corporate network, but also got to over 30 fintech, media, internet, and chemicals-related companies. This Google Chrome hack started in January 2010. The protagonist of this cyber operation was the Chinese Elderwood Group, which had access to millions of Gmail accounts. However, companies such as Adobe, Yahoo, Symantec, Morgan Stanley, Rockspace, and Dow Chemicals were also victims of it.

Intellectual property theft was the main problem of this cyber-attack, but it mostly targeted Chinese human rights activists and dissidents. Therefore, most people believe the Chinese government pulled everything off. This malware used a JavaScript exploit from an Internet Explorer vulnerability. Hackers spread this malware by using social engineering techniques and a spear phishing campaign. Once Google said it had been the victim of a cyber-attack, it also announced it would cease to use its Chinese servers and moved on to Hong Kong ones as a security measure.

#4 Stuxnet Worm

Analysis of the malware on this list shows most cyber-attacks are meant to steal information from victims across various network servers and take money from them. The Stuxnet worm is different from those cyber-attacks. This malware was meant to actually destroy nuclear facilities, and many people believe it was developed by the NSA, CIA, and MOSSAD. Why would those agencies work together to unleash an internet worm? Because it can burn down Iran’s nuclear facilities, which made the country more vulnerable and less dangerous in a future war or armed conflict.

However, how can Stuxnet destroy physical facilities through a computer? It did it by looking for industrial computers coordinating electro-mechanical equipment and programming them to follow damage-inducing instructions. This worm also sent false feedback about the equipment to the computer used to monitor the whole process. Hence, no one could notice the damage the worm was doing until it was too late. The Stuxnet worm first stroke in 2010 and stopped in June 2012. While it was active, many people programmed it to attack other facilities apart from nuclear plants, such as power plants and gas lines.

#5 NASA Cyber-Attack

Although the NASA Cyber-Attack didn’t get to a lot of people since it only affected NASA personnel, it’s on this list because it was the work of a 15-year-old hacker. As impossible as it may seem, a 15-year-old hacker managed to take over NASA computers, invade the Pentagon weapons computer system, and get access to classified emails sent by NASA personnel. Once NASA noticed this, it shut its computer systems down for 21 days to measure how far the kid had gone. After all that, the agency had to spend $41,000 on repairs, and the hacker was only condemned to six months in a youth detention center.

#6 Conficker Worm

What made the Conficker Worm popular was how many people it got to since it affected millions of computers across 190 countries. This cyber worm looked for flaws in the Windows operating system and performed dictionary attacks on administrator passwords to create a botnet similar to what a backbone network does. After all that, hackers could either control the user’s computer system or steal their personal information. Although this cyber-attack was one of the cyber-crimes that had affected more people worldwide by that time, it didn’t steal as much money as it could from users since its perpetrators got scared after getting too much media attention. That attention made those hackers, who were believed to be Ukrainian citizens, stop using it.

#7 Adobe Cyber-Attack

The last cybercrime on this list is the Adobe Cyber-Attack, which affected 38 million active numbers and an unknown number of inactive and suspended accounts. Thanks to that, hackers got access to personal information such as credit card numbers, phone numbers, addresses, and the Acrobat PDF and Photoshop source code. Even after affecting the number of users it got to, the hacker could avoid jail time while Adobe had to spend $1 million in lawsuits.

Final Thoughts

We know it can be exciting to learn how people pulled these cyber-attacks off and the circumstances in which they happened. However, everyone learning about those crimes should also know how dangerous it is to become a victim of them. While many of the exploits named here are already patched, there are still several ways to get hacked, so do what you can to stay safe from cybercrimes.

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