Infamous cybercrimes – The notorious list

Cyber criminals are becoming more sophisticated at picking our virtual pockets. And most of us remain woefully unprepared. According to a 2016 survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, organizations rank cybercrime as the second most reported type of economic crime, up from fourth place.

This page lists some of the infamous cybercrimes that the world has witnessed. The proportion of damage caused by each of the crimes has been unimaginable and way beyond shock. These attacks are learning lessons for the current ICT generation to be more proactive in defending and trying to prevent possible cyber attacks.

 Internet brought to a standstill

A series of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks managed to greatly disrupt Internet use for users in North America and parts of Europe during 2016. The target of the attacks was Dyn, a company in charge of much of the internet’s domain name system (DNS) infrastructure, which is why the damage caused was so extensive.

While people with technical know-how could get around it, most typical internet users were affected for hours. Many of the world’s most popular sites were rendered unresponsive, including Twitter, Amazon, Netflix, GitHub, PayPal, Pinterest, the Guardian and Fox News. Read more

Digital warfare with physical consequences

One of the most terrifying cyber crime in history was the Stuxnet attack. After being planted on the target device, Stuxnet travels through a network in search of specific vulnerabilities.

If successful, Stuxnet instructs the device to carry out actions to cause physical damage, such as by drastically speeding up moving parts or shutting off cooling systems. It also sends false feedback to the primary controller, leaving its presence concealed until too late. Read more

Watch the documentary on youtube

Ransomware WannaCry

One of the latest cyber attack which gained so much attention that happened to knock medical records and much more.

WannaCry is an example of crypto ransomware, a type of malicious software (malware) used by cybercriminals to extort money.

Ransomware does this by either encrypting valuable files, so you are unable to read them, or by locking you out of your computer, so you are not able to use it.

Ransomware that uses encryption is called crypto ransomware. The type that locks you out of your computer is called locker ransomware. Read more

Watch the documentary on youtube

Melissa Virus

One attack would change that in a significant way.

In late March 1999, a programmer named David Lee Smith hijacked an America Online (AOL) account and used it to post a file on an Internet newsgroup named “” The posting promised dozens of free passwords to fee-based websites with adult content. When users took the bait, downloading the document and then opening it with Microsoft Word, a virus was unleashed on their computers.

The Melissa virus, reportedly named by Smith for a stripper in Florida, started by taking over victims’ Microsoft Word program. Read more

Cybersecurity Magazine

Morris Worm

At around 8:30 p.m. on November 2, 1988, a maliciously clever program was unleashed on the Internet from a computer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

This cyber worm was soon propagating at remarkable speed and grinding computers to a halt. “We are currently under attack,” wrote a concerned student at the University of California, Berkeley in an email later that night. Within 24 hours, an estimated 6,000 of the approximately 60,000 computers that were then connected to the Internet had been hit. Computer worms, unlike viruses, do not need a software host but can exist and propagate on their own. Read more

Sony Pictures 

Sony Pictures was subjected to a nightmare of a hack in late 2014, when hackers calling themselves the ‘Guardians of Peace’ leaked confidential data stolen from their company. This data included internal emails, plans for future films, copies of unreleased films, specific details of executives’ salaries, and even personal information about employees and their family members.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the hackers then proceeded to erase key parts of Sony’s network. Still not fully satisfied, the ‘Guardians of Peace’ also demanded the withdrawal of Sony’s then-upcoming film, The Interview. Since the plot of the film in question is about an assassination attempt on Kim Jong-un, many speculated that North Korea was behind the hack, a claim which was confirmed by the official US investigation. Read more

Yahoo breach

Of all the data breaches suffered in the history of the Internet, none come close to those suffered by Yahoo. The Internet service company was hacked twice in 2013 and 2014 respectively, exposing every single user account its databases contained – all 3 billion of them!

Endless lists of the data stolen were put up for sale on the dark web, and contained full names, email addresses, dates of birth, phone numbers, hashed passwords, and security questions and answers. To add insult to injury, Yahoo claimed that the second attack was probably carried out via manufactured web cookies, which practically gave hackers access to any account without requiring a single password! Read more

A Byte Out of History

It was hardly the opening salvo in a new era of virtual crime, but it was certainly a shot across the bow.

Two decades ago, a group of enterprising criminals on multiple continents—led by a young computer programmer in St. Petersburg, Russia—hacked into the electronic systems of a major U.S. bank and secretly started stealing money. No mask, no note, no gun—this was bank robbery for the technological age.

Our case began in July 1994, when several corporate bank customers discovered that a total of $400,000 was missing from their accounts. Read more


Jonathan James, 15, manages to penetrate U.S. Department of Defense division computers and install a backdoor on its servers, allowing him to intercept thousands of internal emails from different government organizations, including ones containing usernames and passwords for various military computers. Using the info, he steals a piece of NASA software. Systems are shut down for three weeks. Read more

According to NASA, “the software [purported to be worth $1.7 million] supported the International Space Station’s physical environment, including control of the temperature and humidity within the living space.”
James was later caught but received a light sentence due to his young age.
He committed suicide in 2008 after he was accused of conspiring with other hackers to steal credit card information. James denied the allegation in his suicide letter. Read more

Zeus trojan

An Eastern European cybercrime ring steals $70 million from U.S. banks using the Zeus Trojan virus to crack open bank accounts and divert money to Eastern Europe. Dozens of individuals are charged. 

Dozens of people in the U.S and Britain were charged Thursday in a worldwide cyberscam that used the powerful Zeus Trojan virus to crack open bank accounts and divert millions of dollars to Eastern Europe. Authorities said at the time that the ring was accused of stealing $12.5 million from accounts in both countries, but also said the global total was likely to rise as the year-long investigation continued.

“This advanced cybercrime ring is a disturbing example of organized crime in the 21st century – high tech and widespread,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. Read more


 Lulz Security, or LulzSec, a break-off group from hacking collective Anonymous, attacks and then targets more than 250 public and private entities, including an attack on Sony’s PlayStation Network. They then publicize their hacks though Twitter to embarrass website owners and make fun of insufficient security measures.

The group discovered a weakness in the site, and used that to leak the profiles and names of 73,000 X Factor US contestants. “We don’t like you very much. As such, we cordially invite you to kiss our hand-crafted crescent fresh asses,” the group wrote in a message about the attack on Pastebin, the site that many hackers use to record their exploits.

They also attacked Sony’s PlayStation Network, stealing 24.6 million customers’ private data, and leading the company to take the network offline for days. Read more

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