The thought that a stranger has gotten inside your computer is surely distressing for you. You may realize it or not, there is a fair possibility that someone, who you don’t know has reached your personal information saved digitally either on your computer or on your phone. The problem of getting hacked is not something new in the tech world. The cruel acts of hacking, exploiting and breaching in 2015, are nothing short of horrifying stuff as shown in Hollywood movies. As shown in movies, there is no place is completely safe for you. Similarly, neither the data kept on your computer nor your phone is completely safe. Android phones were struck with a Zombie virus that was hard to kill and damaged a lot of users all around the globe earlier this year.
Hackers have landed some heavy blows in 2014; the total cost of data breaches throughout the year was about $445 billion. But, there are speculations that the cost of data breaches this year will be even higher. Hackers are now extremely smart, all they need is your personal information to make their way through to your personal accounts. As social media is vastly used by people around the world, all the necessary personal information can be found by hackers through these social accounts. According to Jasper Graham, the Chief Executive of cybersecurity firm, Darktrace said, “It is just terrifying,” he further elaborated his statement saying that security questions and passwords are not a reliable line of defense anymore. One of the hack attempts by hackers compromised thousands of social security number, which can be used for a variety of fraudulent activities.
Below are some of the daunting hack attacks of this year.
The IRS Attack
Hackers logged into more than 150,000 IRS accounts by just using the not-so-secret information such as mother’s maiden names and other similar information. Those accounts had data, thus, hackers started hijacking identities and using them for different mal purposes. The hackers that were probably resided somewhere in Russia earned nearly $50 million in a result of tax refunds, before the authorities realized that they have been victimized by some online thugs.
The Hammertoss Malware
You will be completely relaxed since you don’t find any mal-functioning on your computer. However, your computer may have infectious software called Hammertoss on your computer that disguises itself as Web Browsing. Whereas, the scary fact is that the software receives direct instructions from its originators, i.e. the hackers regarding where to send all the sensitive information from your computer. The engineers of Hammertoss put coded messages on Twitter and GitHub to order the software. Similar to the IRS attackers, the devilish minds behind Hammertoss malware are said to be of Russian cyberspies. This malware software was masterfully coded and was a prime example of how difficult it is to detect sophisticated malware software that is functioning on your computer.
The Ashley Madison Hack
Ashley Madison, a dating website was attacked by hackers and they got access to information of about 30 million accounts. They took all the records and posted it on the internet a couple of months back. Afterwards, the hackers, who call themselves “Impact Team”, started blackmailing affected users. As Ashley Madison is a website designed especially for married people for extra marital affairs, thus, extortion became relatively easy. The hackers are demanding money from users, otherwise, they are threatening of public humiliation. Troy Hunt, who runs a service that alerts people to hacks, said, “Scammers are unlikely to follow through on their threats, but plenty of frightened victims pay up immediately”. The situation is quite horrifying for the innocent victims at the moment as the victim users, after two months of the incident, still getting emails from hackers.
Although, the current year of 2015 has not ended yet, but, so far, it has been a nightmare for computer and smartphone users regarding data security. Hackers are getting brutal and cleverer with the passage of time, which is making users’ life miserable. Knowing threats and getting educated about the measures and precautions to avoid data breaches is the only way out.