Hacker image
2016 biggest hacks. Image credit: Computer Business review.

Many online news outlets are already eager to call 2016 the most significant year in the history of computer hacking. The truth is that all kinds of public and private companies suffered severe breaches of security, leaving an unestimated number of user data files (and dollar bills) exposed, stolen, and lost.

The word ‘Ransomware‘ has been at the top of every news release, highlighting what could be the most dangerous trend in cybercrime. A long-time classic, the DDoS attack, also made a significant number of headlines, breaking unexpected and unwanted hacking records.

As a response to these events, outlined below, many organizations came forward to raise public awareness of the growing dangers of cyber crime. Europol, the United States Government (old and new), and the ‘No More Ransom‘ initiative are a few examples.

Many events proved the Internet is everything but safe. Here we collect the five more significant cyber attacks in 2016.

  1. Yahoo’s user data breach

yahoo-hacked-again. Image: TheUSBport.

This attack takes the top spot because it has grown to become the largest data breach incident in history. 2016 was merely the year of its exposure, but it began in early 2014. The event helped the company to discover another parallel data violation at the time.

Approximately one Billion Yahoo user accounts are in a compromised state as a direct result of this hack. There is no formal accusation, and no hacker group has come forward to claim responsibility. Yahoo first alleged that the hackers worked for an unnamed government, and some sites claim that notorious cyber criminal “Peace” was behind the leak.

Source: Kaspersky

2. Dyn DDoS attack

Dyn DDoS attack image.
Dyn DDoS attack. Image: TheUSBport.

In October 2016, a group of hackers started hitting the main systems of DNS provider Dyn, Inc. with a series of dedicated denial-of-service attacks, which left the company’s online platform unavailable for users worldwide.

Dyn provided DNS for major websites like Airbnb, PayPal, Tumblr, Twitter, and Netflix, to name a few. The attack took down most of those sites, causing no private monetary losses but a record suspension of service stretched across two continents.

Dyn’s DDoS is the largest and heaviest attack of this type in history, and it happened this year, toppling Brian Krebs’ blog record DDoS (which also happened this year).

Source: Krebs on Security

3. SWIFT wire transfer breach


In February, the computer of Bangladeshi bank official suffered a data breach that allowed hackers to process a $81 fraudulent wire transfer using the SWIFT online banking platform.

The Philippines managed to recover a percentage of the money later on. The cash disappeared among the country’s casinos and subsequently passed into the hands of money launderers.

This hack is not the biggest financial cyber-heist in history, but it certainly is the largest in 2016.

Source: BankVault

4. BitCoin theft, the largest in record

Following closely, a security breach on the BitCoin trading system led to a $65 million monetary loss, in the form of exactly 119,756 bitcoins. There were no dollar losses, but many users lost their cryptocurrency reserves.

Bitfinex, the company that suffered the breach, went into lockdown to perform a thorough investigation but the money never came back, and the perpetrators are still on the loose.

Source: Bitcoin

5. The rise of ransomware

2016 saw an increase in incidents connected to this type of malware, which could be responsible for dozens of millions of dollars in private and public losses. Most people are still unaware of ransomware and what it means, even though it has affected millions of users to date.

The nature of ransomware is very private, so if a big company is one of the victims there are few chances of they going public about it. So, there is not a big ransomware attack. However, the sheer amount of reports makes experts believe it’s the future of malware.

Some of them made waves around social media like Facebook Messenger’s Locky and PopcornTime.

Source: Kaspersky