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They say you have to look back in order to move forward, and that’s certainly the case in the world of online security. 2018 is upon us, and if we want to make advancements to our current security infrastructure, we must look back at the major events (although negative) that helped shape the cybersecurity landscape last year. With that said, here were six of the biggest cybersecurity disasters of 2017 (in chronological order).
Elasticsearch ransomware attacks – January
Elasticsearch is an open source Java-based search engine used by popular companies like Amazon and Netflix, as well as websites like Wikipedia. At the beginning of 2017, over 600 servers running Elasticsearch were hit with ransomware attacks where data was deleted and replaced with ransom notes demanding payment in bitcoins.
Shadow Brokers National Security Agency (NSA) hack – April
Anonymous group Shadow Brokers released to the public 300 MB worth of exploits that were usable on Microsoft systems. The hackers revealed that they stole the data from the NSA, and the files included software such as hacking tools and malware.
Cybersecurity conglomerate Kaspersky would later review this bold claim and state that it was most likely true.
WannaCry outbreak – May
From May 12 to 15, a strain of ransomware known as WannaCry spread worldwide, infecting hundreds of thousands of users in more than 150 countries. Victims were forced to pay $300 ransoms in bitcoin, which would double to $600 if not paid within three days.
Several companies were also affected including Honda, FedEx, Renault, and Hitachi
NotPetya (Goldeneye) attacks – June
In the middle of the year, another type of ransomware took the internet by storm. Since a majority of the attacks hit systems in the Ukraine, it is believed by many that the country was the main target. However, companies in the US and the UK were also infected.
Large-scale threat on the energy sector – September
Symantec discovered that a group called “Dragonfly” launched attacks on a massive scale against energy sectors in both North America and Europe. According to the cybersecurity firm, the hackers were able to send trojans and inject malware into the systems of their targets, and among the countries impacted were Switzerland and the US.
Alteryx data exposed – December
Alteryx is an American data analytics firm that inadvertently left the personal information of 120 million households unprotected. Records indicated that all this data was purchased from Experian, a credit reporting firm, and cached on an Amazon Web Services cloud storage. The problem was that anyone could access the information. All they needed was to log into their Amazon Web Services account and visit the URL of the cloud storage.
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