Last year, 2016, was the year when we saw both extremes of the tech world. Not only did we see a lot of nice things, but we were also treated to a fair number of bad news also in the same year. The best news came from the innovations that we saw, the advancements in the field of virtual and augmented reality and the bigger promises that autonomous vehicles continue to hold for us. The bad news, well, were mostly in the hacks that happened in this year. For those that have been following the news well, you would know that 2016 has to be the year when the most hacks were reported. A mailing service is even a double contender for the Gunnies World Records for holding the keys to the biggest data breaches ever recorded in history. Before we spoil all of the fun in the introduction alone, let’s dig into why we feel 2016 was the year of the hacks, and see if you don’t agree with us at the end of it all.
1 THE DOUBLE FALL OF YAHOO
In the month of September, Yahoo made a shocking revelation to the world, and believe this; we were not ready. In what felt like a trick at the moment, Yahoo unveiled that they had been subject to a hack that claimed more than 500 million user accounts. As at the time of unveiling this information, this hack was already holding the record for the biggest data breach ever. What made this hack even more serious was the fact that the actual hack had taken place as far back as 2014, but Yahoo had no knowledge of it till 2016, meaning the hacker had access to information and data for the 2-year window.
As if that wasn’t enough, Yahoo then finished us off with another bad new, claiming that there was a separate hack that had claimed data from a total of one billion users. We don’t know how to catch our breath after that, and we don’t know if Yahoo’s reputation is worth a small rock right now.
Computer viruses were always the thing on the lips of many when we talk about hacks and data breaches, but 2016 changed that game. In what was a dramatic and explosive turn of events, a new wave of hackers rose up and started to encrypt the files of users, demanding a particular amount in ransom before they decrypted them. Of course, they would want to remain anonymous, so the payment is usually made via bitcoins. There was even one that would take your money and still delete your files anyway. How sad can someone get to stoop so low to such levels?
Of the most rampant was Locky which, after a while, was discovered to have a mobile version which could be operated offline. This is the point where we start to get scared.
3 SMART DEVICE ATTACK
We have been talking about the robot uprising for a while – most times in action flicks and science fiction movies than in the real world – but maybe it is high time we started bringing this into the real-world discussions. In October, a “bot” attacked the internet and started to change the way Dyn, a major DNS service, operates. Whenever you want to go to a website, instead of the DNS to read your query as the name of the website that you would love to visit, it would let your computer see it as an IP address instead, causing it to malfunction.
This irregularity continued to go on throughout the whole day, and when the culprits were identified, it was totally unbelievable. Your household DVRs and webcams attacked the internet!
4 EVEN FACEBOOK!
Whenever we go on Facebook, the blue platform would always advise us to use a strong password, and never use the same passwords for more than one account to ensure a safer online presence. Well, it seems that it is time Mark Zuckerberg started to take his advice. Back in 2012, his Facebook password was leaked as “da da da” and again, in June of this past year, he fell victim to the hackers who had no trouble gaining access to his Twitter and Pinterest account. Take your pill next time, Mark.
5 FBI VS. APPLE
A terrorist killed up to 14 people at a stretch and to properly get more information to stop that terrorist and more of his kind; FBI approached Apple to crack his iPhone 5C unit. While Apple would be willing to help the government, they were not willing to give the feds a back door into one of its premium designs, and they were willing to be dragged to court for that. Well, FBI yielded to public pressure and took off the case they made against Apple, but not before they had hired a group of hackers to crack the iPhone 5C unit independently. Don’t think only mercenaries hack. The government does it to people.
There we have it. Our top 5 biggest hacks of the year 2016. While there are also many notable mentions like the hack of Sundar Pichai (Google’s CEO), Jack Dorsey (Twitter CEO), Hillary Clinton (ex-presidential candidate in the US election), we feel that the above affects a lot more people.