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List of security hacking incidents

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The list of security hacking incidents covers important or noteworthy events in the history of security hacking and cracking.









  • The theory that underlies computer viruses was first made public in 1949, when computer pioneer John von Neumann presented a paper titled "Theory and Organization of Complicated Automata". In the paper, von Neumann speculated that computer programs could reproduce themselves.[3]



  • At MIT, "hack" first came to mean playing with machines. The minutes of an April 1955 meeting of the Tech Model Railroad Club state that "Mr. Eccles requests that anyone working or hacking on the electrical system turn the power off to avoid fuse blowing."[4]


  • Joe "Joybubbles" Engressia, a blind seven-year-old boy with perfect pitch, discovered that whistling the fourth E above middle C (a frequency of 2600 Hz) would interfere with AT&T's automated telephone systems, thereby inadvertently opening the door for phreaking.


  • Various phreaking boxes are used to interact with automated telephone systems.



  • William D. Mathews from MIT found a vulnerability in a CTSS running on an IBM 7094. The standard text editor on the system was designed to be used by one user at a time, working in one directory, and so it created a temporary file with a constant name for all instantiations of the editor. The flaw was discovered when two system programmers were editing at the same time and the temporary files for the message of the day and the password file became swapped, causing the contents of the system CTSS password file to display to any user logging into the system.[8][9][10][11]


  • The first known incidence of network penetration hacking took place when members of a computer club at a suburban Chicago area high school were provided access to IBM's APL network. In the Fall of 1967, IBM (through Science Research Associates) approached Evanston Township High School with the offer of four 2741 Selectric teletypewriter-based terminals with dial-up modem connectivity to an experimental computer system which implemented an early version of the APL programming language. The APL network system was structured into Workspaces which were assigned to various clients using the system. Working independently, the students quickly learned the language and the system. They were free to explore the system, often using existing code available in public Workspaces as models for their own creations. Eventually, curiosity drove the students to explore the system's wider context. This first informal network penetration effort was later acknowledged as helping harden the security of one of the first publicly accessible networks:[12]

    Science Research Associates undertook to write a full APL system for the IBM 1500. They modeled their system after APL/360, which had by that time been developed and seen substantial use inside of IBM, using code borrowed from MAT/1500 where possible. In their documentation, they acknowledge their gratitude to "a number of high school students for their compulsion to bomb the system". This was an early example of a kind of sportive, but very effective, debugging that was often repeated in the evolution of APL systems.






technical experts, skilled, often young, computer programmers who almost whimsically probe the defenses of a computer system, searching out the limits and the possibilities of the machine. Despite their seemingly subversive role, hackers are a recognized asset in the computer industry, often highly prized.

The newspaper describes white hat activities as part of a "mischievous but perversely positive 'hacker' tradition". When a National CSS employee revealed the existence of his password cracker, which he had used on customer accounts, the company chastised him not for writing the software but for not disclosing it sooner. The letter of reprimand stated that "The Company realizes the benefit to NCSS and in fact encourages the efforts of employees to identify security weaknesses to the VP, the directory, and other sensitive software in files".[15]


  • Chaos Computer Club forms in Germany.
  • Ian Murphy, aka Captain Zap, was the first cracker to be tried and convicted as a felon. Murphy broke into AT&T's computers in 1981 and changed the internal clocks that metered billing rates. People were getting late-night discount rates when they called at midday. Of course, the bargain-seekers who waited until midnight to call long distance were hit with high bills.[16]




  • KILOBAUD is re-organized into The P.H.I.R.M. and begins sysopping hundreds of BBSs throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe.
  • The online 'zine Phrack is established.
  • The Hacker's Handbook is published in the UK.[22]
  • The FBI, Secret Service, Middlesex County NJ Prosecutor's Office and various local law enforcement agencies execute seven search warrants concurrently across New Jersey on July 12, 1985, seizing equipment from BBS operators and users alike for "complicity in computer theft",[23] under a newly passed, and yet untested criminal statute.[24] This is famously known as the Private Sector Bust,[25] or the 2600 BBS Seizure,[26] and implicated the Private Sector BBS sysop, Store Manager (also a BBS sysop), Beowulf, Red Barchetta, The Vampire, the NJ Hack Shack BBS sysop, and the Treasure Chest BBS sysop.







  • Operation Sundevil introduced. After a prolonged sting investigation, Secret Service agents swoop down on organizers and prominent members of BBSs in 14 U.S. cities including the Legion of Doom, conducting early-morning raids and arrests. The arrests involve and are aimed at cracking down on credit-card theft and telephone and wire fraud. The result is a breakdown in the hacking community, with members informing on each other in exchange for immunity. The offices of Steve Jackson Games are also raided, and the role-playing sourcebook GURPS Cyberpunk is confiscated, possibly because the government fears it is a "handbook for computer crime". Legal battles arise that prompt the formation of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, including the trial of Knight Lightning.
  • Australian federal police tracking Realm members Phoenix, Electron and Nom are the first in the world to use a remote data intercept to gain evidence for a computer crime prosecution.[33]
  • The Computer Misuse Act 1990 is passed in the United Kingdom, criminalising any unauthorised access to computer systems.



  • The first DEF CON hacking conference takes place in Las Vegas. The conference is meant to be a one-time party to say good-bye to BBSs (now replaced by the Web), but the gathering was so popular it became an annual event.
  • AOL gives its users access to Usenet, precipitating Eternal September.



  • The movies The Net and Hackers are released.
  • The Canadian ISP dlcwest.com is hacked and website replaced with a graphic and the caption "You've been hacked MOFO"
  • The US Secret Service raid 12 and arrest 6 cellular phone hackers in Operation Cybersnare
  • February 22: The FBI raids the "Phone Masters".[37]


  • Hackers alter Web sites of the United States Department of Justice (August), the CIA (October), and the U.S. Air Force (December).
  • Canadian hacker group, Brotherhood, breaks into the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
  • Arizona hacker, John Sabo A.K.A FizzleB/Peanut, was arrested for hacking Canadian ISP dlcwest.com claiming the company was defrauding customers through over billing.
  • The US general accounting office reports that hackers attempted to break into Defense Department computer files some 250,000 times in 1995 alone with a success rate of about 65% and doubling annually.[38][39][40][41]
  • Cryptovirology is born with the invention of the cryptoviral extortion protocol that would later form the basis of modern ransomware.[42]






  • May: The ILOVEYOU worm, also known as VBS/Loveletter and Love Bug worm, is a computer worm written in VBScript. It infected millions of computers worldwide within a few hours of its release. It is considered to be one of the most damaging worms ever. It originated in the Philippines; made by an AMA Computer College student Onel de Guzman for his thesis.
  • September: Computer hacker Jonathan James became the first juvenile to serve jail time for hacking.


  • Microsoft becomes the prominent victim of a new type of hack that attacks the domain name server. In these denial-of-service attacks, the DNS paths that take users to Microsoft's websites are corrupted.
  • February: A Dutch cracker releases the Anna Kournikova virus, initiating a wave of viruses that tempts users to open the infected attachment by promising a sexy picture of the Russian tennis star.
  • April: FBI agents trick two Russian crackers into coming to the U.S. and revealing how they were hacking U.S. banks.[49]
  • July: Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov is arrested at the annual DEF CON hacker convention. He was the first person criminally charged with violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
  • August: Code Red worm, infects tens of thousands of machines.
  • The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) is established in response to the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.[50]


  • January: Bill Gates decrees that Microsoft will secure its products and services, and kicks off a massive internal training and quality control campaign.
  • March: Gary McKinnon is arrested following unauthorized access to US military and NASA computers.
  • May: Klez.H, a variant of the worm discovered in November 2001, becomes the biggest malware outbreak in terms of machines infected, but causes little monetary damage.
  • June: The Bush administration files a bill to create the Department of Homeland Security, which, among other things, will be responsible for protecting the nation's critical IT infrastructure.
  • August: Researcher Chris Paget publishes a paper describing "shatter attacks", detailing how Windows' unauthenticated messaging system can be used to take over a machine. The paper raises questions about how securable Windows could ever be. It is however largely derided as irrelevant as the vulnerabilities it described are caused by vulnerable applications (placing windows on the desktop with inappropriate privileges) rather than an inherent flaw within the Operating System.
  • October: The International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium—(ISC)²—confers its 10,000th CISSP certification.



  • March: New Zealand's Government (National Party) website defaced by hacktivist group BlackMask[51]
  • July: North Korea claims to have trained 500 hackers who successfully crack South Korean, Japanese, and their allies' computer systems.[52]
  • October: National Cyber Security Awareness Month was launched by the National Cyber Security Alliance and U.S. Department of Homeland Security.



  • January: One of the few worms to take after the old form of malware, destruction of data rather than the accumulation of zombie networks to launch attacks from, is discovered. It had various names, including Kama Sutra (used by most media reports), Black Worm, Mywife, Blackmal, Nyxem version D, Kapser, KillAV, Grew and CME-24. The worm would spread through e-mail client address books, and would search for documents and fill them with garbage, instead of deleting them to confuse the user. It would also hit a web page counter when it took control, allowing the programmer who created it as well as the world to track the progress of the worm. It would replace documents with random garbage on the third of every month. It was hyped by the media but actually affected relatively few computers, and was not a real threat for most users.
  • May: Jeanson James Ancheta receives a 57-month prison sentence,[56] and is ordered to pay damages amounting to $15,000 to the Naval Air Warfare Center in China Lake and the Defense Information Systems Agency, for damage done due to DDoS attacks and hacking. Ancheta also had to forfeit his gains to the government, which include $60,000 in cash, a BMW, and computer equipment.[56]
  • May: The largest defacement in Web History as of that time is performed by the Turkish hacker iSKORPiTX who successfully hacked 21,549 websites in one shot.[57]
  • July: Robert Moore and Edwin Pena were the first people to be charged by U.S. authorities for VoIP hacking. Robert Moore served 2 years in federal prison and was given $152,000 restitution. Once Edwin Pena was caught after fleeing the country, evading authorities for almost 2 years, he was sentenced to 10 years and given $1 million restitution.[58]
  • September: Viodentia releases FairUse4WM tool which would remove DRM information off Windows Media Audio (WMA) files downloaded from music services such as Yahoo! Unlimited, Napster, Rhapsody Music and Urge.


  • August 11: United Nations website hacked by Indian Hacker Pankaj Kumar Singh.[63]
  • November 14: Panda Burning Incense which is known by several other names, including Fujacks and Radoppan.T lead to the arrest of eight people in China. Panda Burning Incense was a parasitic virus that infected executable files on a PC. When infected, the icon of the executable file changes to an image of a panda holding three sticks of incense. The arrests were the first for virus writing in China.[64]


  • January 17: Project Chanology; Anonymous attacks Scientology website servers around the world. Private documents are stolen from Scientology computers and distributed over the Internet.
  • March 7: Around 20 Chinese hackers claim to have gained access to the world's most sensitive sites, including the Pentagon. They operated from an apartment on a Chinese Island.[65]
  • March 14: Trend Micro website successfully hacked by Turkish hacker Janizary (aka Utku).[66]


  • April 4: Conficker worm infiltrated millions of PCs worldwide including many government-level top-security computer networks.[67]



  • January 12: Operation Aurora Google publicly reveals[68] that it has been on the receiving end of a "highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google"
  • June: Stuxnet The Stuxnet worm is found by VirusBlokAda. Stuxnet was unusual in that while it spread via Windows computers, its payload targeted just one specific model and type of SCADA systems. It slowly became clear that it was a cyber attack on Iran's nuclear facilities—with most experts believing that Israel[69] was behind it—perhaps with US help.
  • December 3: The first Malware Conference, MALCON took place in India. Founded by Rajshekhar Murthy, malware coders are invited to showcase their skills at this annual event supported by the Government of India.


  • The hacker group Lulz Security is formed.
  • April 9: Bank of America website got hacked by a Turkish hacker named JeOPaRDY. An estimated 85,000 credit card numbers and accounts were reported to have been stolen due to the hack. Bank officials say no personal customer bank information is available on that web-page. Investigations are being conducted by the FBI to trace down the incriminated hacker.[70]
  • April 17: An "external intrusion" sends the PlayStation Network offline, and compromises personally identifying information (possibly including credit card details) of its 77 million accounts, in what is claimed to be one of the five largest data breaches ever.[71]
  • Computer hacker sl1nk releases information of his penetration in the servers of the Department of Defense (DoD), Pentagon, NASA, NSA, US Military, Department of the Navy, Space and Naval Warfare System Command and other UK/US government websites.[72]
  • September: Bangladeshi hacker TiGER-M@TE made a world record in defacement history by hacking 700,000 websites in a single shot.[73]
  • October 16: The YouTube channel of Sesame Street was hacked, streaming pornographic content for about 22 minutes.[74]
  • November 1: The main phone and Internet networks of the Palestinian territories sustained a hacker attack from multiple locations worldwide.[75]
  • November 7: The forums for Valve's Steam service were hacked. Redirects for a hacking website, Fkn0wned, appeared on the Steam users' forums, offering "hacking tutorials and tools, porn, free giveaways and much more."[76]
  • December 14: Five members of the Norwegian hacker group, Noria, were arrested, allegedly suspected for hacking into the email account of the militant extremist Anders Behring Breivik (who perpetrated the 2011 attacks in the country).[77]


  • A hacker published over 400,000 credit cards online,[78] and threatened Israel to release 1 million credit cards in the future. In response to that incident, an Israeli hacker published over 200 Albanian' credit cards online.[79][80]
  • Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, the co-founder of Pirate Bay, was convicted in Denmark of hacking a mainframe computer, what was then Denmark's biggest hacking case.[81]
  • January 7: "Team Appunity", a group of Norwegian hackers, were arrested for breaking into Norway's largest prostitution website then publishing the user database online.[82]
  • February 3: Marriott was hacked by a New Age ideologist, Attila Nemeth who was resisting against the New World Order where he said that corporations are allegedly controlling the world. As a response Marriott reported him to the United States Secret Service.[83]
  • February 8: Foxconn is hacked by a hacker group, "Swagg Security", releasing a massive amount of data including email and server logins, and even more alarming—bank account credentials of large companies like Apple and Microsoft. Swagg Security stages the attack just as a Foxconn protest ignites against terrible working conditions in southern China.[84]
  • May 4: The websites of several Turkish representative offices of international IT-companies are defaced within the same day by F0RTYS3V3N (Turkish Hacker), including the websites of Google, Yandex, Microsoft, Gmail, MSN, Hotmail, PayPal.[85][86][87][88]
  • May 24: WHMCS is hacked by UGNazi, they claim that the reason for this is because of the illegal sites that are using their software.
  • May 31: MyBB is hacked by newly founded hacker group, UGNazi, the website was defaced for about a day, they claim their reasoning for this was because they were upset that the forum board Hackforums.net uses their software.
  • June 5: The social networking website LinkedIn has been hacked and the passwords for nearly 6.5 million user accounts are stolen by cybercriminals. As a result, a United States grand jury indicted Nikulin and three unnamed co-conspirators on charges of aggravated identity theft and computer intrusion.
  • August 15: Saudi Aramco is crippled by a cyber warfare attack for months by malware called Shamoon. Considered the biggest hack in history in terms of cost and destructiveness. Carried out by an Iranian attacker group called Cutting Sword of Justice.[89] Iranian hackers retaliated against Stuxnet by releasing Shamoon. The malware destroyed over 35,000 Saudi Aramco computers, affecting business operations for months.
  • December 17: Computer hacker sl1nk announced that he has hacked a total of 9 countries' SCADA systems. The proof includes 6 countries: France, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden and the United States.[90]


  • The social networking website Tumblr is attacked by hackers. Consequently, 65,469,298 unique emails and passwords were leaked from Tumblr. The data breach's legitimacy is confirmed by computer security researcher Troy Hunt.[91]
  • August: Yahoo! data breaches occurred. More than 3 billion users data are being leaked.[92]


  • February 7: The bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy after $460 million was apparently stolen by hackers due to "weaknesses in [their] system" and another $27.4 million went missing from its bank accounts.[93]
  • October: The White House computer system was hacked.[94] It was said that the FBI, the Secret Service, and other U.S. intelligence agencies categorized the attacks "among the most sophisticated attacks ever launched against U.S. government systems."[95]
  • November 24: In response to the release of the film The Interview, the servers of Sony Pictures are hacked by a hacker group calling itself "Guardian of Peace".
  • November 28: The website of the Philippine telecommunications company Globe Telecom was hacked in response to the poor internet service they are distributing.[96]



  • February: The 2016 Bangladesh Bank heist attempted to steal US$951 million from a Bangladesh Bank, and succeeded in getting $101 million—although some of this was later recovered.
  • March: VICE reported that a teenage hacker Cyber Anakin had gone on a hacking spree against Russian websites such as e-mail provider KM.RU and game company Nival to express his anger against Russia for the downing of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine. According to cybersecurity researcher Troy Hunt, at least 1.5 million victims were affected by the breaches. Many years later Latvia-based independent news website Meduza used the content of KM.RU's data breach to pinpoint the identity of a person who has been harassing female chess players of various countries such as Russia, Kazakhstan and India with the delivery of mails containing used condoms.[100][101][102]
  • July 22: WikiLeaks published the documents from the 2016 Democratic National Committee email leak.
  • July 29: a group suspected coming from China launched hacker attacks on the website of Vietnam Airlines.
  • August 13: The Shadow Brokers (TSB) started publishing several leaks containing hacking tools from the National Security Agency (NSA), including several zero-day exploits. Ongoing leaks until April 2017 (The Shadow Brokers)
  • September: Hacker Ardit Ferizi is sentenced to 20 years in prison after being arrested for hacking U.S. servers and passing the leaked information to members of ISIL terrorist group back in 2015.[103]
  • October: The 2016 Dyn cyberattack is being conducted with a botnet consisting of IOTs infected with Mirai by the hacktivist groups SpainSquad, Anonymous, and New World Hackers, reportedly in retaliation for Ecuador's rescinding Internet access to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at their embassy in London, where he has been granted asylum.[104]
  • Late 2016: Hackers steal international personal user data from the company Uber, including phone numbers, email addresses, and names, of 57 million people and 600,000 driver's license numbers of drivers for the company. Uber's GitHub account was accessed through Amazon's cloud-based service. Uber paid the hackers $100,000 for assurances the data was destroyed.[105]
  • December 2016: Yahoo! data breaches reported and affected more than 1 billion users. The data leakage includes user names, email addresses, telephone numbers, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers, dates of birth, and hashed passwords



  • March: Computer systems in the city of Atlanta, in the U.S. state of Georgia, are seized by hackers with ransomware. They did not pay the ransom,[119] and two Iranians were indicted by the FBI on cyber crime charges for the breach.[120]
  • The town of Wasaga Beach in Ontario, Canada computer systems are seized by hackers with ransomware.[121]
  • September: Facebook was hacked, exposing to hackers the personal information of an estimated 30 million Facebook users (initially estimated at 50 million) when the hackers "stole" the "access tokens" of 400,000 Facebook users. The information accessible to the hackers included users' email addresses, phone numbers, their lists of friends, Groups they are members of, users' search information, posts on their timelines, and names of recent Messenger conversations.[122][123]
  • October: West Haven, Connecticut USA computer systems are seized by hackers with ransomware, they paid $2,000 in ransom.[124]
  • November:


  • March: Jackson County computer systems in the U.S. state of Georgia are seized by hackers with ransomware, they paid $400,000 in ransom.[126] The city of Albany in the U.S. state of New York experiences a ransomware cyber attack.[127][128]
  • April: Computer systems in the city of Augusta, in the U.S. state of Maine, are seized by hackers using ransomware.[129][130] The City of Greenville (North Carolina)'s computer systems are seized by hackers using ransomware known as RobbinHood.[131][132] Imperial County, in the U.S. state of California, computer systems are seized by hackers using Ryuk ransomware.[133]
  • May: computer systems belonging to the City of Baltimore are seized by hackers using ransomware known as RobbinHood that encrypts files with a "file-locking" virus, as well as the tool EternalBlue.[134][135][136][137]
  • June: The city of Riviera Beach, Florida, paid roughly $600,000 ransom in Bitcoin to hackers who seized their computers using ransomware.[138] Hackers stole 18 hours of unreleased music from the band Radiohead demanding $150,000 ransom. Radiohead released the music to the public anyway and did not pay the ransom.[139]
  • November: The Anonymous hacktivist collective announced that they have hacked into four Chinese computer databases and donated those to data breach indexing/notification service vigilante.pw. The hack was conducted in order to support the 2019 Hong Kong protests, amidst the Hong Kong police's siege of the city's Polytechnic University. They also brought up a possible peace plan first proposed by a professor at Inha University in hopes of having the Korean reunification and the five key demands of the Hong Kong protest being fulfilled at once.[140]



  • February: Anonymous hacked the United Nations website and created a page for Taiwan, a country which had not had a seat at the UN since 1971. The hacked page featured the Flag of Taiwan, the KMT emblem, a Taiwan Independence flag, the Anonymous logo, embedded YouTube videos such as the Taiwanese national anthem and the closing score for the 2019 film Avengers: Endgame titled "It's Been a Long, Long Time", and a caption. The hacked server belonged to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.[141]
  • May: Anonymous declared a large hack on May 28, three days after the murder of George Floyd. An individual claiming to represent Anonymous stated that "We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us." in a now-deleted video. Anonymous addressed police brutality and said they "will be exposing [their] many crimes to the world". It was suspected that Anonymous were the cause for the downtime and public suspension of the Minneapolis Police Department website and its parent site, the website of the City of Minneapolis.[142]
  • May: Indian national Shubham Upadhyay posed as Superintendent of Police and, using social engineering, used a free caller identification app to call up the in-charge of the Kotwali police station, K. K. Gupta, in order to threaten him to get his phone repaired amidst the COVID-19 lockdown. The attempt was foiled.[143]
  • June: Anonymous claimed responsibility for stealing and leaking a trove of documents collectively nicknamed 'BlueLeaks'. The 269-gigabyte collection was published by a leak-focused activist group known as Distributed Denial of Secrets. Furthermore, the collective took down Atlanta Police Department's website via DDoS, and defaced websites such as a Filipino governmental webpage and that of Brookhaven National Labs. They expressed support for Julian Assange and press freedom, while briefly "taking a swing" against Facebook, Reddit and Wikipedia for having 'engaged in shady practices behind our prying eyes'. In the case of Reddit, they posted a link to a court document describing the possible involvement of a moderator of a large traffic subreddit (/r/news) in an online harassment-related case.[144][145]
  • June: The Buffalo, NY police department's website was supposedly hacked by Anonymous.[146] While the website was up and running after a few minutes, Anonymous tweeted again on Twitter urging that it be taken down.[147] A few minutes later, the Buffalo NY website was brought down again. They also hacked Chicago police radios to play N.W.A's "Fuck tha Police".[148]
  • June: Over 1,000 accounts on multiplayer online game Roblox were hacked to display that they supported U.S. President Donald Trump.[149]
  • July: The 2020 Twitter bitcoin scam occurred.
  • July: User credentials of writing website Wattpad were stolen and leaked on a hacker forum. The database contained over 200 million records.[150]
  • August: A large number of subreddits were hacked to post materials endorsing Donald Trump. The affected subreddits included r/BlackPeopleTwitter, r/3amJokes, r/NFL, r/PhotoshopBattles. An entity with the name of "calvin goh and Melvern" had purportedly claimed responsibility for the massive defacement, and also made violent threats against a Chinese embassy.[151]
  • August: The US Air Force's Hack-A-Sat event was hosted at DEF CON's virtual conference where groups such as Poland Can Into Space, FluxRepeatRocket, AddVulcan, Samurai, Solar Wine, PFS, 15 Fitty Tree, and 1064CBread competed in order to control a satellite in space. The Poland Can Into Space team stood out for having successfully manipulated a satellite to take a picture of the Moon.[152][153]
  • August: The website of Belarusian company "BrestTorgTeknika" was defaced by a hacker nicknaming herself "Queen Elsa", in order to support the 2020–21 Belarusian protests. In it, the page hacker exclaimed "Get Iced Iced already" and "Free Belarus, revolution of our times" with the latter alluding to the famous slogan used by 2019 Hong Kong protests. The results of the hack were then announced on Reddit's /r/Belarus subreddit by a poster under the username "Socookre".[154][155]
  • August: Multiple DDoS attacks forced New Zealand's stock market to temporarily shut down.[156]
  • September: The first suspected death from a cyberattack was reported after cybercriminals hit a hospital in Düsseldorf, Germany, with ransomware.[157]
  • October: A wave of botnet-coordinated ransomware attacks against hospital infrastructure occurred in the United States, identified as associated with Russia [ru].[158] State security officials and American corporate security officers were concerned that these attacks might be a prelude to hacking of election infrastructure during the elections of the subsequent month, like similar incidents during the 2016 United States elections and other attacks;[159] there was, however, no evidence that they performed attacks on election infrastructure in 2020.[160]
  • December: A supply chain attack targeting upstream dependencies from Texas IT service provider "SolarWinds" results in serious, wide-ranging security breaches at the U.S. Treasury and Commerce departments. White House officials did not immediately publicly identify a culprit; Reuters, citing sources "familiar with the investigation", pointed toward the Russian government.[161] An official statement shared by Senate Finance Committee ranking member, Ron Wyden said: "Hackers broke into systems in the Departmental Offices division of Treasury, home to the department’s highest-ranking officials."[162]
  • December: A bomb threat posted from a Twitter account that was seemingly hacked by persons with the aliases of "Omnipotent" and "choonkeat", against the Aeroflot Flight 102, a passenger flight with the plane tail number of VQ-BIL coming from Moscow to New York City. Due to that, a runway of New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport was temporarily closed and resulted in the delay of Aeroflot Flight 103, a return flight back to Moscow.[163][164][165]
  • December: The Anonymous group initiated 'Christmas gift' defacements against multiple Russian portals including a municipal website in Tomsk and that of a regional football club. Inside the defacements, they made multiple references such as Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny, freedom protests in Thailand and Belarus, and opposition to the Chinese Communist Party. They also held a mock award based on an event on the game platform Roblox that was called "RB Battles" where YouTubers Tanqr and KreekCraft, the winner and the runner up of the actual game event, were compared to both Taiwan and New Zealand respectively due to the latter's reportedly stellar performance in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.[166]


  • January: Microsoft Exchange Server data breach
  • February: Anonymous announced cyber-attacks of at least five Malaysian websites. As a result, eleven individuals were nabbed as suspects.[167][168][169][170]
  • February: Hackers including those with names of "张卫能 utoyo" and "full_discl0sure" hijacked an events website Aucklife in order to craft a phony bomb threat against the Chinese consulate in Auckland, New Zealand, and also a similar facility in Sydney, Australia. Their motive was a punitive response against China due to COVID-19. As a result, a physical search was conducted at the consulate by New Zealand's Police Specialist Search Group while Aucklife owner Hailey Newton had since regained her access to the website. Wellington-based cybersecurity consultant Adam Boileau remarked that the hack isn't 'highly technical'.[171][172]
  • February: The group "Myanmar Hackers" attacked several websites belonging to Myanmar government agencies such as the Central Bank of Myanmar and the military-run Tatmadaw True News Information Team. The group also targeted the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration, Trade Department, Customs Department, Ministry of Commerce, Myawady TV and state-owned broadcaster Myanmar Radio and Television and some private media outlets. A computer technician in Yangon found that the hacks were denial-of-service attacks, while the group's motive is to protest the 2021 Myanmar coup.[173]
  • March: Cyber insurer CNA Financial, one of the largest insurance companies based in the US, was attacked with ransomware, causing the company to lose control over its network.[174] The company paid $40 million to regain network control. CNA had, at first, ignored the hackers, attempting to solve the problem independently; remaining locked out, however, CNA paid the ransom within a week.[175] CNA's investigation reported that cyberattack group Phoenix had used Phoenix Locker malware, a variant of the Hades ransomware used by Russian criminal hacking group Evil Corp.[176] Phoenix Locker malware encrypted 15,000 devices on the network, as well as the computers of employees working remotely while logged into the company's VPN during the attack.[175]
  • April: Over 500 million Facebook users' personal info—including info on 32 million in the United States—was discovered posted on a hackers' website, though Facebook claimed that the information was from a 2019 hack, and that the company had already taken mitigation measures; however, the company declined to say whether it had notified the affected users of the breach.[177][178][179][better source needed]
  • April: The Ivanti Pulse Connect Secure data breach of unauthorized access to the networks of high-value targets since at least June 2020 via CVE-2021-22893 across the U.S. and some E.U. nations[additional citation(s) needed] due to their use of vulnerable, proprietary software was reported.[180][181]
  • May: Operation of the U.S. Colonial Pipeline is interrupted by a ransomware cyber operation.[182]
  • May: On 21 May 2021 Air India was subjected to a cyberattack wherein the personal details of about 4.5 million customers around the world were compromised including passport, credit card details, birth dates, name and ticket information.[183][184]
  • July: On 22 July 2021 Saudi Aramco data were leaked by a third-party contractor and demanded $50 million ransom from Saudi Aramco. Saudi Aramco confirmed the incident after a hacker claimed on dark web that he had stolen 1 terabyte of data about location of oil refineries and employees data in a post that was posted on June 23.[185][186][187]
  • August: T-Mobile reported that data files with information from about 40 million former or prospective T-Mobile customers, including first and last names, date of birth, SSN, and driver's license/ID information, were compromised.[188]
  • September and October: 2021 Epik data breach. Anonymous obtained and released over 400 gigabytes of data from the domain registrar and web hosting company Epik. The data was shared in three releases between September 13 and October 4. The first release included domain purchase and transfer details, account credentials and logins, payment history, employee emails, and unidentified private keys.[189] The hackers claimed they had obtained "a decade's worth of data", including all customer data and records for all domains ever hosted or registered through the company, and which included poorly encrypted passwords and other sensitive data stored in plaintext.[189][190] The second release consisted of bootable disk images and API keys for third-party services used by Epik;[191] the third contained additional disk images and an archive of data belonging to the Republican Party of Texas, who are an Epik customer.[192]
  • October: On October 6, 2021, an anonymous 4chan user reportedly hacked and leaked the source code of Twitch, as well as information on how much the streaming service paid almost 2.4 million streamers since August 2019.[193] Source code from almost 6,000 GitHub repositories was leaked, and the 4chan user said it was "part one" of a much larger release.[194]
  • November and December: On November 24, Chen Zhaojun of Alibaba's Cloud Security Team reported a zero-day vulnerability (later dubbed Log4Shell) involving the use of arbitrary code execution in the ubiquitous Java logging framework software Log4j.[195][196][197] The report was privately disclosed to project developers of Log4j, a team at The Apache Software Foundation, on November 24. On December 8, Zhaojun contacted the developers again detailing how the vulnerability was being discussed in public security chat rooms, was already known by some security researchers, and pleaded that the team expedite the solution to the vulnerability in the official release version of Log4j.[197] Early exploitations were noticed on Minecraft servers on December 9; however, forensic analysis indicates that Log4Shell may have been exploited as early as December 1 or 2nd.[197][198][199][200] Due to the ubiquity of devices with the Log4j software (hundreds of millions) and the simplicity in executing the vulnerability, it is considered to be arguably one of the largest and most critical vulnerabilities ever.[201][202] Yet, big names in security hacking helped in regaining control over server, like Graham Ivan Clark, and Elhamy A. Elsebaey. A portion of the vulnerability was fixed in a patch distributed on December 6, three days before the vulnerability was publicly disclosed on December 9.[197][199][203][204]
  • December: Starting from this month, Anonymous took notice of the military build-up near the Russia-Ukraine border and thus acted to propagate peace plans to end the War in Donbass by defacing various websites, such as United Nations' Networks on Migration, Polar Research Institute of China, Convention on Biological Diversity, and various government websites in China. The hacking collective called for a referendum in Ukraine on whether to presumably follow the now-defunct Minsk Protocol or hand over the separatist-controlled territories to a UN peacekeeping administration. Later, a second referendum in the separatist regions would then ask voters to choose to reunite with Ukraine, gain independence, or join Russia. Besides that, they also called for the creation of a "neutral grouping" of countries "wedged between NATO and Russia" that would include Ukraine, Finland, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Moldova. They argued that the so-called "neutral security belt" could serve as an alliance similar to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) that acts as a cordon sanitaire between NATO and CSTO countries in order to "assuage Russia's fears without NATO losing its face."[205][206][207][208][209]


  • February: The German Chaos Computer Club has reported more than fifty data leaks. Government institutions and companies from various business sectors were affected. In total, the researchers had access to over 6.4 million personal data records as well as terabytes of log data and source code.[210][211]
  • March: The website of a local newspaper in Sumy, Ukraine was hacked by a person identifying themselves as "zehang陈". They claimed that they and other individuals "P_srim_asap", "Mrthanthomthebomber", "mister-handsomekai" and "RiansJohnson" had placed bombs at Chinese and Russian diplomatic facilities in Malaysia with the former containing a photo of Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, Hong Kong's International Finance Centre and MTR Airport Station, and the headquarters office of American game company ROBLOX. Besides that, they claimed responsibility for the delivery of an envelope containing white powders against the Russian embassy in Canberra, Australia. As a result the area surrounding the embassy was briefly cordoned off.[212][213]
  • March: As a response to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Anonymous performed many attacks against computer systems in Russia. Most notably, Anonymous committed a cyberattack against Roskomnadzor.[214]
  • March: On 23 March 2022, hackers compromised the Ronin Network, stealing approximately US$620 million in Ether and USDC.[215][216][217] A total of 173,600 Ether and 25.5 million USDC tokens were stolen in two transactions.[218] It took the company six days to notice the hack.[218] The hack currently sits as the largest-ever breach in the cryptocurrency sector by dollar value.[219] It further damaged the value of SLP.[220] On 8 April 2022, Sky Mavis said it expected it would be able to recover some of the funds, but it would take several years.[221] The company raised additional venture capital and reimbursed all users affected in the hack.[222] On 14 April 2022, the FBI issued a statement that the Lazarus Group and APT38, which are North Korean state-sponsored hacker groups, were responsible for the theft.[223][224] Accordingly, the US Treasury has sanctioned the cryptocurrency address. Some of the cryptocurrency has been laundered through a cryptocurrency tumbler known as "Tornado Cash".[224][225][226]
  • April: According to Taiwan News, on Cosmonautics Day (April 12) Anonymous defaced five Russian websites, specifically the Russian heavy metal band Aria's site, a Russian hockey site, a Panerai watch enthusiasts site, a basketball team site, and an educational organization site. Furthermore, Taiwan News revealed that Cyber Anakin, a hacktivist within the decentralized collective, had contracted COVID-19 and hacked Chinese computer systems such as government websites, agricultural management systems, coal mine safety interfaces, nuclear power plant interfaces, and satellite interfaces, for five days as acts of retaliation.[227]
  • April: Anonymous hacked Russian companies Aerogas, Forest, and Petrovsky Fort. From there they leaked around 437,500 emails which they donated to non-profit whistleblower organization Distributed Denial of Secrets. Furthermore, they leaked 446 GB of data from Russian Ministry of Culture.[228][229]
  • April: On April 19, Gijón City Council (Spain) was attacked by the GERVASIA computer virus and suffered data hijacking.[230]
  • May: Network Battalion 65 (NB65), a hacktivist group affiliated with Anonymous, has reportedly hacked Russian payment processor Qiwi. A total of 10.5 terabytes of data including transaction records and customers' credit cards had been exfiltrated. They further infected Qiwi with ransomwares and threatened to release more customer records.[231]
  • May: During the Victory Day in Russia, anti-war messages were inserted into Russian TV schedules including that of Russia-1, Channel 1, and NTV-Plus. One of the messages were "On your hands is the blood of thousands of Ukrainians and their hundreds of murdered children. TV and the authorities are lying. No to war."[232]
  • June: A hacker on the Breach Forums claimed to have leaked more than 1 billion people's personal records from the Shanghai National Police Database.[233]
  • August: During the visit of Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, the website of Taiwan's Office of the President website was affected by a distributed denial of service attack. Anonymous then hacked into a China Heilongjiang province's Society Scientific Community Federation website and a Chinese gasoline generator factory’s website.[234][235]


  • November: A cyberattack on DP World paralyzes imports and exports in Australia for several days. DP World accounts for about 40% of Australia's imports and exports, leading to a 30,000-container backlog and economic chaos; additionally, data was stolen.[237][238][239]


  • February: The website of Burger Singh which is a food chain, was hacked by Pakistani hacker group "Team Insane PK". On the defaced website, the group warned Indian hackers to cease attacking Pakistani websites while uploading a YouTube video depicting the Pakistani Air Force.[240]

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Further reading[edit]