10 Most Devastating Computer Hacks of All Time
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10 Most Devastating Computer Hacks of All Time


– All the anti-virus and
private browsers in the world won’t help you this time. (upbeat dance music) Hacking has gotten a lot
worse over the last decade, with some hackers able to bring entire billion-dollar
corporations to their knees. But whether these hacks were
done as revenge of some kind or just for the laughs,
they were all unstoppable. These are the 10 most
devastating computer hacks of all time. Number one is the Sony hack. Let’s start off with what is considered to be one of the most
damaging hacks of all time. On November 24, 2014, Sony
Pictures was the victim of a well-planned hack which infected multiple
employees’ computers with malware and, according to the hackers, led to the release of
100 terabytes of data, including employee information, secrets including how
much actors were paid, and even unreleased films. The hack was carried out by a group known as Guardians of the Peace, who demanded that Sony
cancel all screenings of the Seth Rogen and James
Franco film The Interview. Despite the massive amount of damage done, nobody was ever caught for the hack. It was totally worth it, though. It was a funny movie. Number two is the Conficker Worm. First discovered in early November 2008, the Conficker Worm was a virus that targeted the Windows operating system by exploiting vulnerabilities in the code, and linking it to other
systems to make a massive net controlled by the hackers who made it. Conficker infected millions of computers in over 190 countries, including government PCs
such as the Manchester, UK City Council desktops, the
French Navy computer network, and over 100 of Germany’s
armed forces systems. The name Conficker is
said to be a combination of the words configure
and a German curse word. It’s been said that the virus
was created in the Ukraine, though to this day it hasn’t been verified and no arrests have ever been made. It got so serious that
on February 13, 2009, Microsoft offered a $250,000 reward for the arrest of the
Conficker Worm’s creator. But to this day, nobody has
ever been able to claim it. Number three is Heartland. On November 20, 2009,
Heartland Payment Systems announced that their
network had been hacked. Heartland, a credit
card processing company located in New Jersey, claimed the cyber-attack
occurred on multiple occasions between December 26, 2007, and
the day of the announcement. According to the US government, over 130 million credit
cards were compromised, though Heartland went onto say that they’d lost $2.6 million and had absolutely no idea how many of the hundreds of millions of cards that they processed had been copied. 28-year-old Albert Gonzalez and a gang of Russian
hackers associated with him pulled off the hack in subsequent heists. Gonzalez was arrested and
extradited to the United States, and sentenced multiple times
as he’d also been responsible for the hacking of
companies like TJX and 7-11, as well as stealing upwards
of $300 million in total. He was handed a 20-year total sentence for what proved to be
one of the biggest hacks in US history. Number four is the D.o.D. attack. Being the first juvenile
under 18 years old to ever be imprisoned for
committing a cybercrime is really a title that you
probably should not be proud of. But if you’re also a teenager who practically brought
the entire United States to its knees, you just might be. Jonathan James was only 15 years old when he managed to successfully hack into some major systems at
the Department of Defense, specifically computers at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. In July of 1999, James
accessed over 3,000 messages and emails between the DTRA employees, and even compromised the systems that controlled the physical environment on the International Space Station. This breach shut down NASA’s computers for nearly three weeks, and it cost the agency over $41,000 just to flush out James’s
code and fix their systems. After his release, James
was constantly in fear that other cybercrimes would
be falsely blamed on him, and this led to his
suicide on May 18, 2008. Number five is Court Venture. This hacker not only
scammed a massive company, but ended up helping
some really bad people steal the identities of over
13,670 American citizens. In March of 2012, Experian,
a global corporation which specializes in credit
and marketing services, acquired a business called Court Ventures, which aided in personal data retrieval. During this time,
22-year-old Vietnamese hacker Hieu Minh Ngo used his computer skills to breach Court Ventures
security and pose as an investor. He was given access to millions of Americans’
personal information, and used this access to
sell their identities online to over 1,300 buyers. He managed to make nearly
$2 million doing this, that is, until his arrest
on February of 2013. On July 14, 2015, he was
sentenced to 13 years in prison. Experian has been trying to explain their way out of this mess ever since with little success. How exactly do you explain
that a young 22-year-old was better than your
entire security system? You just, you’re done. Number six is Project Rivolta. At only 15 years old,
cyber genius Michael Calce was barely old enough to shave, let alone hack advanced programming code. But that didn’t stop him from taking down some of the internet’s
most visited websites. Between February 7 and
February 14 of 2000, the West Coast, Quebec youth, who went by the hacker
name MafiaBoy online, launched a number of distributed
denial of service attacks, which overloaded and eventually
shut down popular sites including eBay, Amazon, CNN, and Dell. He even managed to take down Yahoo!, which held the title at the time of the world’s number one search engine. Calce called the hacking
operation Project Rivolta, and was said to consider
the entire thing too easy. Sources say that soon after
the hacks were committed, he simply settled down to
watch the movie Goodfellas, only to have police come
knocking at his door. He was sentenced on September 12, 2001, to eight months in open custody. Number seven is the Morris Worm. In the late ’80s, the
internet was barely known outside of military
networks, universities, and other education and
government facilities. However, just how big it actually was wasn’t precisely known, especially as it was
still growing at the time. So on November 2, 1988, Cornell University graduate
student Robert Tappan Morris developed a digital worm virus that could break into every computer that it could find on the web and report back that it existed, mapping out a huge network. Launched at a computer at MIT, the Morris Worm self-replicated, infecting thousands upon
thousands of systems and taking down multiple
networks’ connectivity. Though he designed it
as a non-damaging worm, the virus would infect
a system multiple times, severely slowing it down. According to the United States Government Accountability Office, the accidental attack caused as much as $10 million in damage, and made Robert the first
person to be convicted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Number eight is Melissa. On March 26, 1999,
30-year-old David L. Smith of Aberdeen Township, New Jersey, unleashed a monster onto the internet that became a bigger nightmare that even he could’ve ever
imagined that it would become. Named after a stripper that he’d fallen in love with in Florida, the Melissa virus acted intelligently, spreading to other computers through a Word document and emails. Corrupting Microsoft Outlook,
Melissa would send itself to 50 people in the user’s contact list, and then once opened would
then send itself again to 50 more of their contacts. In the end, it was estimated that she did more than
$80 million of damage and caused multiple companies,
such as Microsoft and Intel, to shut down their internet
connections temporarily. Smith pled guilty to
the creation of Melissa on December 10, 1999, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. But lucky for him, he wormed his way out as he only served 20 months behind bars and had to pay a $5,000 fine. Number nine is Project Chanology. By now, you’ve likely heard of
the hacking group Anonymous. Well, something that you might not know is that one of their first ever publicly-known hacktivism cyber-assaults started on January 16, 2008, when the group took on
the Church of Scientology in an attempt to save people from their controversial religion by reversing the brainwashing. Dubbed Project Chanology, Anonymous launched a massive
DDoS attack on Scientology.org, which actually took the
website offline briefly. On January 21, 2008, the public saw Anonymous
for the very first time when they released a video
called Message to Scientology. In it, they declared their intent and accused the church of
trying to censor a video of possibly the most famous of
their believers, Tom Cruise, making ridiculous claims about what the religion was capable of. It’s bad enough the
guy’s jumping on couches, now he’s making claims about alien gods. Religion’s weird. And number 10 is Spamhaus. This is one of the absolute
most devastating hacks that is considered by many security firms, programmers, and cyber-activists to be the largest distributed
denial of service attack in the history of hacking. Started on March 19, 2013, Spamhaus, a Geneva, Switzerland-based
spam prevention service, came under attack from hackers
using nearly 100,000 servers, the most ever used for such
a cause according to records. The action also had the honor of using the most bandwidth
ever used for a cyber-attack, at 300 gigabits per second. Massive sections of Europe lost internet connectivity and speed, and the attack went on for days. Sources claim that the hack
was carried out by CyberBunker, a hosting company run out
of an abandoned NATO bunker in the Netherlands, and criminal gangs from
Eastern Europe in Russia, with the goal of shutting down Spamhaus, who they simply didn’t like. See, this is why you do not
get on the bad side of hackers. I love you, hackers. You’re wonderful, you’re all great. So those were the 10 most devastating computer hacks of all time. But I want to know from you, what other hacks do you know of that deserve to be on this list? Leave your comment below because I’ll be reading through them, and I’m going to pin
the best one to the top. But as always, thank you guys
so much for coming by today. Remember to come back
tomorrow and every weekday at exactly 3:00 P.M.
Eastern Standard Time, because I’ll have a
brand new video for you. I’ll see you then.

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