Top hack attacks of 2014: Love, nudity and politics

This year was dotted with multiple high profile hack attacks. (Shutterstock)

This year was dotted with multiple high profile hack attacks, a reminder that cyber warfare is a real threat. From celebrities to State Departments, the target were varied.

Hacking for love in Saudi Arabia

A Saudi man perhaps chose not to gift his wife roses or chocolates to congratulate her for graduating. Instead, he hacked a government website to cheer for her success in May.

This year was dotted with multiple high profile hack attacks, a reminder that cyber warfare is a real threat. From celebrities to State Departments, the target were varied.

The hacker left a sentimental message to his wife, reportedly named Bashayir, on the website of the Saudi Commission of Electricity and Cogeneration.

He wrote: “I apologize for the hacking your website, but I wanted to congratulate my wife Bashayir, my partner, after graduating. I wanted to tell her this through your website.”

He added: “I would like to wish everyone luck and success.”

Ebay hacks

EBay Inc. in May said hackers attacked between late February and early March with login credentials obtained from “a small number” of employees. They then accessed a database containing all user records and copied “a large part” of those credentials.
How hackers got access to its entire database of 145 million user records left many questions unanswered as to how cyber criminals orchestrated what appeared to be one of the biggest data breaches in U.S. history.

Nude snaps scandal

Nude photos purportedly showing many top stars, including Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence, reality star Kim Kardashian, and pop star Rihanna, bounced around social media on Sept. 1, in a massive hacking leak of the Cloud.

“It’s so weird and hard how people take your privacy away from you,” Lawrence said in a tweet at the time.

The actress’ agent, meanwhile, vowed to take legal action.

“This is a flagrant violation of privacy. The authorities have been contacted and will prosecute anyone who posts the stolen photos of Jennifer Lawrence,” her representative told TMZ entertainment website at the time.

Sony Pictures hack attack

Hollywood filmmakers and actors voiced outrage on Wednesday after Sony Pictures pulled the release of North Korea parody “The Interview,” following threats from hackers who waged a massive cyber attack on the movie studio.

A group which claimed to have hacked Sony’s servers demanded this week that its movie studio pull a soon-to-be-released comedy depicting a fictional CIA plot to kill North Korea’s leader, reports said.

North Korea Sunday denied involvement in the brazen cyber-attack on Sony Pictures, but praised it as a “righteous deed” potentially orchestrated by supporters furious over the movie “The Interview,” due out on Christmas Day.

In a message this week, cited by entertainment journal Variety and the Wall Street Journal, the group calling itself GOP - or Guardians of Peace - said: “We have already given our clear demand to the management team of Sony.

“However, they have refused to accept.”

In clearly non-native English, it continued: “It seems that you think everything will be well, if you find out the attacker, while no reacting to our demand. We are sending you our warning again.

“Do carry out our demand if you want to escape us. And, Stop immediately showing the movie of terrorism which can break the regional peace and cause the War!,” it said, without referring explicitly to “The Interview.”

U.S. State Department hacks

U.S. State Department’s unclassified email systems were the victim of a cyber-attack in November 2014, around the same time as the White House systems were breached, according to media reports.

The State Department’s network was infiltrated, but the department did not disconnect the affected systems until later, according to federal technology information website nextgov.com.

It said there was abnormal activity in the email system as recently as late October.

The State Department breach follows similar intrusions disclosed in recent months at the White House, the Office of Personnel Management and, just last week, U.S. Postal Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

USPS said it was the victim of an intrusion that may have compromised the personal information of more than 800,000 employees, as well as data on customers who contacted its call center during the first eight months of this year.

The intrusion did not affect any of the department’s classified systems, the New York Times reported.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:44 - GMT 06:44
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