Everyone knows that cyber attacks are on the rise. And yes, this is largely due to the higher number of computer and internet users today, compared to, say, a decade ago. Individual users usually aren’t the target of cyber attacks (corporations are). Regardless, cyber attacks are something everyone fears.
We basically live our modern lives inside the electronic devices we own. We expose our innermost thoughts with loved ones in e-mails and texts these days. We upload pictures of our private lives onto the web. And of course, Google browsing history can tell the world a lot more about a person than anyone would ever want. Now, imagine someone else having access to all that personal data. That’s a horrifying thought. Believe it or not, there are people in the world who’ve had to undergo that rather terrifying experience. So, stimulate your amygdale with the following examples of chilling cyber attacks:
Apple iCloud Hack
Possibly one of the most neck hair-raising cyber breach incidents in recent times is the Apple iCloud hack. This story was treated quite sensationally in the media because only celebrity accounts were targeted. Basically what happened was, hackers targeted a number of iCloud accounts belonging to notable Hollywood personalities and released a bunch of photos… of the naked kind. The following day, everyone was Googling ‘Jennifer Lawrence nude photos’. Apple denied a system-wide attack, and said only some accounts were targeted. That’s not really reassuring now, is it? Most people upload nude pictures online, not for the world to see, but for a select number of people in their lives. What if one of your nude pictures got online? You could lose your job, become a target of sexual violence, or the butt of jokes. That is certainly not a comforting thought.
The Ashley Madison Hack
If you don’t already know, Ashley Madison was a Canadian-based website that facilitated illicit sexual escapades for married people (mostly men). Yes, it was a site for adultery. Ashley Madison promised its clients complete privacy and anonymity for obvious reasons. So, Ashley Madison clients were in for a shock, to put it mildly, when the site was hacked and personal and credit card information was leaked online. Chaos ensued. Obviously, being exposed online as an adulterer can ruin your life. That’s what happened to most of Ashley Madison’s exposed clients. Some were threatened with divorce, some reported being blackmailed, and at least one, a preacher, committed suicide. Regardless of what you think about adultery, you have to admit, this is possibly one of the worst hacks ever.
The Morris Worm Attack
Have you ever seen a zombie movie? Of course you have. Think about that part, usually early in the movie, when the virus spread from a single host to thousands of people, and then the apocalypse happens. The Morris worm attack of 1988 can be characterized in that way. It was developed by a university student who claimed the worm was not malicious, but was intended to understand how big cyberspace was. However, the worm malfunctioned and became a virus, thus infecting some 6,000 computers and denying services. The damages ran up to some $100 million. The Morris Worm is, in fact, the first ever recorded DDoS attack in history. You can attribute all the devastating DDoS attacks of today to this “accident”.
Cyber attacks are scary indeed. They can range from malicious, like in the Ashley Madison hack, to a really unfortunate accident, as in the Morris Worm. There are no surefire ways to prevent cyber attacks. But you can update your antivirus software and change your passwords every once a month to minimize your risk for one.