The Most Vicious Cyber Attacks in Recent History

When you take a look at recent cyber attacks and realize how often they occur, and how little is done to either stop the perpetrators, you’ll see that cyber crime isn’t just something from science fiction. Types of cyber attacks can vary from a DDoS (where a server is hit with a bunch of information at once, crashing it), to malware that records information silently, or even a Trojan horse that siphons money into an anonymous account. You’ll find examples of all three, and more, on this list of the most vicious cyber attacks in recent history.

You’re probably asking yourself, “What is a cyber attack?” Unfortunately, the answer is pretty vague. A cyber attack can be any way that a hacker, or group of hackers decide they want to destroy a system, steal information, or cause general mischief. The cyber attack definition ranges from having pizzas sent to an unsuspecting person’s home to stealing the information of 40 million people from a large store like Target. The wide breadth of cyber crime is harrowing in its density, but this list will try to put some of the most recent cyber attacks into perspective.

  • The Sony Hacks

    The 2014 Sony attacks may have not been the most dangerous, but they were definitely the most well known. Information including email addresses, private messages, and financial information were stolen in the hacks. North Korea was blamed for the attacks, but a variety of scholars doubted the country's ability to launch such an attack.

  • Red October

    Red October was a cyberespionage malware program that had reportedly been operating for up to five years when it was discovered in 2013. Red October's mission was to transmit diplomatic secrets, including from mobile devices. After being discovered, domain registrars and hosting companies found as many as 60 domains used by the virus creators to receive information.

  • Gamergate Swatting

    The "prank" Gamergate swatting began in 2014. Gamergate antagonists began doxxing the women who were critical of online misogyny and cyberbullying, and when they got bored with that they started "swatting" their victims by sending SWAT teams to their homes.

  • Attacks On The Strater Family

    For close to five years, a family in suburban Illinois has been dealing with cyber attacks from a Finnish hacker named Julius Kivimaki who's done everything from have pizzas delivered to their house to dumping gravel on their driveway, and even hacking Tesla's Twitter account and posting the family's phone numbers. The cyber attacks stem from an online disagreement between the family's son, Blair, and Kivimaki and show no sign of stopping.