The biggest cyberattacks in history: from Yahoo! to Microsoft

Microsoft assured that at the end of August 2021 it had blocked the largest DDoS-type cyber attack in history and that it was destined to render the Azure service unusable. However, these efforts have not always been successful, as evidenced by the biggest cyberattacks in history, that reflect that cyberspace is the new battlefield.

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Exchange de Microsoft (2021)

In March 2021, Microsoft blamed Chinese hacker Hafnium for being behind an attack on Microsoft Exchange Server email software, which affected 250,000 organizations around the world, including governments, businesses, political organizations and academics. The attackers are alleged to have stolen information from the victims and installed malicious code on their systems. Although it is one of the most used systems globally, few entities have publicly acknowledged having been victims of the attacks. These include the European Banking Authority and the Norwegian Parliament.

SolarWinds (2020)

In December 2020, the American cybersecurity firm FireEye detected unusual activity on its network. It discovered that a group of hackers had inserted the malicious code SurnBust in Orion, a software of the company SolarWinds to centralize the management of platforms. But they weren’t the only victims. This code allowed attackers to remotely access the systems of more than 18,000 SolarWinds customers. The attack was attributed to the Russian group Cozy Bear, also called APT29 or Nobelium. No losses have been estimated.

WannaCry (2017)

On May 12, 2017, a global-scale cyber attack was activated that affected thousands of companies globally. The WannaCry ransomware exploited the Eternal Blue vulnerability on computers with the Windows operating system, which were not properly updated. Although Microsoft had developed a security patch, many organizations did not install it in time. The result? 200,000 computers infected in three days, including some Spanish ones like Telefónica, Iberdrola or Gas Natural. The United States blamed North Korean cracker Park Jin Hyok, the same one behind the attack on Sony Pictures in 2014.

Sony Pictures (2014)

Scene from The Interview
Scene from The Interview.

In November 2014, Sony Pictures was the victim of one of the largest and most controversial computer attacks on an American company. The company was close to brand new The Interview, a satirical comedy about a CIA plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The North Korean regime claimed that the production was an act of war and gratuitous terrorism. Executives at the firm had received threats from North Korean hackers, but decided to go ahead with the project. On November 14, 2014, the attackers leaked more than 12,000 emails from studio president Michael Lynton, financial records, and unpublished data from the Hollywood industry. The losses are estimated to be $ 200 million.

Yahoo! (2013)

More than 3 billion Yahoo! they were affected by data theft in 2013. Although originally the company had admitted that 500 million users had been affected, and later corrected the number to 1,500 million, finally the real number was known. In 2014, Verizon – which had just bought Yahoo! – made the information transparent and recognized the real magnitude. The attack compromised real names, usernames, emails, conversations, phone numbers, dates of birth, passwords with everything and the hashed digital signature of all Yahoo!

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