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The biggest breach in the history of cyberspace in 2017

Cyberspace has proven to be a blessing to the humanity. It has become a platform for people from different walks of life to socially network and share ideas, regardless of the distance between them and zonal differences.

Sadly, the cyberspace is not all about positivity only; it has its fair share of challenges too. One of such challenges is the abuse it has been subjected to, by cybercriminals who see it as a tool for perpetrating criminal activities. 2017 had its fair share of cybersecurity breaches as organizations and institutions were subjected to serious attacks.

The biggest breach in cyberspace

These are some of the biggest breaches the cyberspace experienced in the year 2017:

1. Equifax Data Breach

Equifax is an agency that aggregates financial data of hundreds of millions of businesses and consumers worldwide. However, the company detected a serious cybersecurity attack on July 29, 2017 when it detected some suspicious network activity on one of its web portals. Subsequent investigation revealed that the company suffered a massive data breach that eventually affected over 145 million US consumers, almost half of the US population.

The hackers exploited a vulnerability in the company’s security and attacked it on May 13, 2017. When the company eventually discovered the attack, millions of users have been affected as the hackers have already succeeded in creating over 30 backdoors into the company’s systems.

2. WannaCry Cyber Attack

Towards the middle of 2017, a ransomeware attack that was considered in some quarters as “the worse ransomware attack ever” was launched. The attack, which started on 12 May, 2017, infected an estimated 300,000 computers in over 150 countries in just four days.

One of the organizations that felt the weight of the attack most was the UK’s National Health Service. About 33% of health trusts in the country, including healthcare services and officers were affected, leading to the cancellation of over 19,000 appointments. Some surgeries were also cancelled in the aftermath of this attack.

3. Rasputin Attacks

Although this attack allegedly started in late 2016, it was carried into 2017. The lone hacker, Rasputin, reportedly breached the databases of some 60 government agencies and universities.

The list of Rasputin victims include:

  • University of Cambridge
  • Rhode Island Department of Education
  • Cornell University
  • Postal Regulatory Commission and some other dozens of schools and agencies.

4. NotPetya Attack

In June 2017, the NotPetya ransomware wreaked havoc in Europe and the USA. One of the hardest hit was Maersk. This shipping giant ultimately lost more than $200 million to the attack because the attack grounded the company’s activities in four countries while the company was rendered inactive for a couple of weeks.

Other companies that felt the huge impact of the attack are FedEx, Merck, and Mondelez. Mendelez recorded a 5% drop in their quarterly sales as a result of invoicing and shipping issues caused by the attack.

These are hands down some of the biggest cyber attacks in the cyberspace in 2017. With billions of dollars worth of damage, the cyberspace seems to belong to the unscrupulous cyber criminals.

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