The news has been full of cyber-attacks in recent years. The number and scale of attacks are increasing at an alarming rate. It is important for anyone in network security to study these attacks. Staying current with this kind of information will help in defending your network from similar attacks.
Since 2015, the medical and insurance industries have been heavily targeted for cyber-attacks. On May 5th, 2015, Premera Blue Cross was attacked. This attack is said to have compromised at least 11 million customer accounts containing personal data. The attack exposed customer names, birth dates, social security numbers, phone numbers, bank account information, mailing, and e-mail addresses. Another attack that was on a larger scale was the attack on Anthem. It is estimated that 80 million personal data records were stolen from customers, employees, and even the Chief Executive Officer of Anthem. Another more infamous cyber-attack recently was the Sony hack. This hack was a little different from the Anthem and Blue Cross attacks, because it was carried out by hacktivists instead of cyber criminals.
Even though both types of hacking are criminal, the fundamental reasoning and objectives underlying the attacks are quite different. The objective in the Sony attack was to disrupt and embarrass the executives at Sony as well as prevent a film from being released. No financial data was targeted. Instead the hackers went after personal e-mails of top executives. The hackers then released the e-mails to the public, causing humiliation to Sony and its executives. Many apologies were issued by Sony in the following weeks of the attack.
Large commercial retailers have also been a favorite target for hackers. An attack occurred against Home Depot in September of 2014. That attack was on a large scale. It is estimated that over 56 million credit cards were compromised during the Home Depot attack. A similar attack but on a smaller scale was carried out against Staples in October 2014. During this attack, over 1.4 million credit card numbers were stolen. The statistics on cyber security attacks are eye-opening.
It is estimated by some experts that cybercrime has a worldwide cost of 110 billion dollars a year. In a given year, over 15 million Americans will have their identity stolen through cyber-attacks, it is also estimated that 1.5 million people fall victim to cybercrime every day. These statistics are rapidly increasing and will continue to do so until more people take an active interest in network security.