A selection of some of the largest cybercrimes ever committed.
Operation Shady Rat
Beginning in mid-2006, Operation Shady Rat was an ongoing series of cyber attacks that hit at least 72 major organisations worldwide including the International Olympic Committee and the United Nations. Discovered by McAfee researchers in 2011, it was assumed to be of Chinese origin, although this was never proved.
The Estonia Attacks
One of the most serious attacks ever unleashed on a single country, the Estonia attack followed the controversial decision to remove a Soviet war memorial in its capital, Tallinn. The assault, thought to have been supported by the Russian government, was a denial-of-service (DDOS) attack which targeted servers across the country, including Estonia’s banking systems and mobile networks, rendering them inoperable.
Associated with online activists Anonymous, LulzSec caused havoc across the internet during the first half of 2011. Its attacks were distinct for not being motivated by profit or a particular ideology, but instead were done just for the sake of it (or for the ‘lulz’). However, this was a serious attack, which targeted the likes of the CIA, Sony, and AT&T, before it announced its disbandment following the arrest of "Topiary", one of its leaders, in July 2011.
Discovered in 2004 by one Shawn Carpenter, Titan Rain took the form of a series of coordinated ‘cyber raids’ to access classified US government files. Suspected by the FBI of originating in China, the hackers were able to infiltrate networks at organisations including NASA and Lockheed Martin, making off with military intelligence and classified data.
One of the costliest cyber attacks in history, the 2011 data breach at Epsilon, the world’s largest provider of marketing and handling services to major financial services, retailers and other major companies had an estimated damage cost of between $225m to $4bn dollars. The attack targeted company email addresses which were then used for criminal activities, meaning its lifespan was far longer than other similar breaches.