Top 10 High-Profile Global Hack Attacks of 2015

1 - Top 10 High-Profile Global Hack Attacks of 2015
2 - U.S. Office of Personnel Management
3 - FBI Portal Breach
4 - Ashley Madison
5 - TalkTalk
6 - Health Insurer Anthem
7 - Carphone Warehouse
8 - Multiple U.S. Financial Institutions and Media Companies
9 - Vodafone
10 - Samsung Electronics
11 - Hilton Worldwide
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Top 10 High-Profile Global Hack Attacks of 2015

The high-profile hacks that dominated 2014 continued in 2015. Here are 10 of the top global hack attacks of the year.

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U.S. Office of Personnel Management

This breach was one of the biggest ever of U.S. government systems believed—although not proved—to be perpetrated by Chinese hackers. The data theft consisted of stealing addresses and health and financial details of 19.7 million people who had been subjected to government background checks, in addition to 1.8 million others.

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FBI Portal Breach

A portal used by police and the FBI to share intelligence and arrest suspects was hacked in November, and data on arrestees was stolen. It is uncertain how many people were affected because the FBI didn't announce figures. This attack is thought to be one of the biggest law enforcement hacks in 2015. It was perpetrated by the same hackers who accessed CIA Director John Brennan's personal email account earlier this year.

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Ashley Madison

The security data breach that hit the infamous infidelity dating site back in the summer of 2015 was media gold. A hacking collective identified weaknesses in password encryption and used these to crack the bcrypt-hashed passwords. The upshot was the personal information—including credit card details—of more than 11 million users was leaked on the dark Web. The company has lost its CEO, saw its share price and whatever credibility it had plummet, and now faces class-action lawsuits from clients and investors.

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October saw one of the UK's biggest hacks—one that dominated news headlines in the UK for weeks. Mobile phone provider TalkTalk was the target of a bunch of teenage hackers who stole the details of more than 20,000 customers. The hackers were quickly identified and dealt with, but the company has been left with a bill of up to £35 million, having had millions of pounds wiped off its share price. It also is facing lawsuits from customers and investors.

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Health Insurer Anthem

It emerged in October that Chinese hackers had targeted U.S. health insurance company Anthem to learn more about how medical coverage is set up in the United States. Apparently, Anthem has not been the only target, with smaller insurer Premera saying it had been hacked in March, exposing details of about 11 million people. Health care data has become some of the most valuable information that can be sold in the online black market, making health care companies a prime target for hackers.

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Carphone Warehouse

One of the biggest breaches in the UK this year happened in August, when data on almost 2.5 million Carphone Warehouse customers was stolen, with about 90,000 having encrypted credit-card information stolen. The company said it had been the victim of a sophisticated cyber-attack.

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Multiple U.S. Financial Institutions and Media Companies

Hackers stole the details of more than 100 million people with bank accounts in what authorities dubbed "securities fraud on cyber steroids." At least nine banks and other financial institutions, including JP Morgan, plus Dow Jones, the parent company of The Wall Street Journal, were targeted by hackers who gained access to a number of systems that helped them make money from illegal activities, including running a digital currency exchange, running gambling Websites and inflating stock prices. Three men have been prosecuted.

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Another UK telco was involved in a data breach in October, when hackers stole personal and financial information of 2,000 Vodafone customers. Hackers used emails, addresses and passwords acquired from an unknown source to get names, phone numbers, bank sort codes and the last four digits from bank accounts.

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Samsung Electronics

The electronics giant's LoopPay subsidiary was hacked back in March this year. Samsung said that no user data was compromised during the hack, which lasted several months before detection. LoopPay developed the payment system used to run Samsung Pay, a competitor to Apple Pay.

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Hilton Worldwide

The global hotel chain was recently the victim of an attack, which infiltrated its point-of-sale (POS) terminals, giving hackers unfettered access to customer credit card information. Stolen information included cardholder names and card numbers, security codes and expiry dates, enabling hackers to shop online or by phone.

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