Yahoo faces largest data breach ever in history.
Looking back at the time, there are a number of vicious hack attempts recorded in the history. The ledger of hacker has named magician and inventor Nevil Maskelyne as the first hacker of the modern history.
Maskelyne is believed to have disrupted the public demonstration done by John Ambrose Fleming in 1903 of Guglielmo Marconi’s secure wireless telegraphy technology. Maskelyne disrupted the presentation by reportedly sending foul language, encrypted as Morse code messages through the auditorium’s projector.
Now, more than a millennium after the first hack, there has come a time where hacker community is split into two on the basis of cause and action – some hackers are hailed heroes while some others are villains.
Here too, the perception of a hacker as a hero is subjective as the one affected by the hack feels outraged even though the attempt of the hacker was to reveal something very important that has been hidden from the public domain. This is why Julian Assange; the founder of WikiLeaks is considered a national security threat by CIA whereas global citizens consider him as a crusader of a new form of journalism that is based on hacking.
Let us look at some of the major hacks that were revealed in 2016.
Yahoo and the largest data breach in history
On December 14, 2016, Yahoo finally announced that its server was compromised by hackers in 2013 who gained access to more than 1 billion user accounts. This is the second time in the year that Yahoo has publicly acknowledged its server vulnerability to hacking. In September Yahoo had announced data theft of over 500 million accounts.
The new disclosure could take a heavy toll on Yahoo which had recently signed a deal with Verizon that agreed to buy the early internet giant for a whopping $4.83 billion. Verizon had met the Yahoo official in September after the data theft. It was reported by many media that they might back out of the deal but now there are unconfirmed reports that Verizon is bargaining with Yahoo for a discount of $1 billion in the wake of the new revelation.
US election and Russian hackers
It was the major event in the history of the United States as the Presidential election this year tore apart all exit poll results to hand over the keys of White House to Donald Trump who when started the election campaign was looked down upon as a lesser candidate to win the US Election. Russian hackers have been blamed before and after the election for facilitating Donald Trump undue importance. The CIA told a group of top US senators that the hack was aimed at helping Mr. Trump and he was aware of it. There are also reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin was directly involved in the hacking
White House has also confirmed that Donald Trump was “obviously aware” of Russian hackers involved in hacking during the US election.
FBI vs Apple – Hacking into the iPhone of a terrorist
Apple had to put its heads down after the FBI unlocked an iPhone used by the San Bernardino terrorist who fired indiscriminately at people in Inland Regional Centre, killing 14. During the initial days of the investigation FBI had sought the help of the American major to help it unlock the iPhone but citing the company policies and its highly-encrypted security that was claimed uncrackable, Apple refused to budge to the request and filed a formal complaint.
But causing major embarrassment for the tech giant, FBI sought the help of ethical hackers who helped them to unlock what Apple called its uncrackable security. Following this, different suits were filed against Apple for its noncompliance to a request that mattered national security and many laws are proposed so that no other company could function above the law.
LinkedIn leak of unsecured account
LinkedIn, the most widely used professional social media platform found itself in trouble after a few hackers compromised over 117 million accounts in second such incident to hit the company. There was a similar breach in 2012 but the extent of the damage came to the light only in 2016 when it realized that the data accessed by hackers was twenty times more than when they hacked it in 2013. The hackers were arrested in the Czech Republic. Interestingly, they revealed that the username and passwords of some of the best professionals were too unprofessional as some passwords were just words like “LinkedIn” and numbers like “123456”
Tumblr turned tightlipped as 65 million accounts got hacked
It was a major security breach that hit Tumblr, the microblogging site owned by Yahoo but they tried to play down the breach without revealing the extent of the damage. The intensity of the breach came to light only when a few journalists investigated and found that a whopping 65 million accounts were compromised and dumped into a database that was up for sale. As an entity under Yahoo, which itself came under the attack later in the same year, there is little to talk about the security features of their server.