Folks, it’s officially that time of year. Yes, the time has come to rank the greatest (read: worst, most terrible, most absurd) hacking incidents of the year as we inch closer to December and toward 2023. The year 2022 wasn’t quite as severe as others in recent years in terms of cybersecurity catastrophes. This year saw fewer prominent ransomware assaults. Even if there weren’t any massive controversies in the vein of SolarWinds, things weren’t all that fantastic.
Millions of large organisations were exposed as having poor digital security due to cryptocurrency attacks, which resulted in billions of dollars in damages. At the same time, cybercriminals once more showed that their business model is incredibly lucrative. Let’s face it, the digital security situation in the US was a shitshow as usual.
Join us as we quickly look back at this year’s most notable hacking incidents and data breaches. Please take this as a reminder to upgrade your browser and buy a password manager (but be selective, as they may also be hacked numerous times in a year, check out this guide on password managers).
1] The Lapsus$ Hacks
The most distinctive cyberattacks of the year were carried out by a new gang calling itself “Lapsus$.” The group, which is reputed to be composed mostly of teenagers, claimed impressive hacking victories against some of the world’s biggest companies: Microsoft, Samsung, Nvidia, Ubisoft, and a slew of other major tech companies that all suffered serious data breaches. While the supposed leader of the gang—a teenager from the United Kingdom—was arrested back in March, Lapsus$ appears to have continued to its reign of terror, claiming victories against more and more large companies. Despite its big splash in the world of cybercrime, we still don’t know much about the group or its members. To date, no members of the group have been publicly identified, even the ones arrested. See more on the Lapsu$ group
2] The Uber Breach
The Uber hack was one of the most memorable hacks of the year. It also may have been carried out by the cybercriminals from the previous slide—the Lapsus$ gang. In short: someone hacked into the network of the rideshare giant back in September and caused all sorts of mischief. Whoever it was certainly had a sense of humor. In addition to defacing an internal website with a picture of a dick, the hacker also screwed with employees via Slack and leaked pictures of the company’s internal environment to the web. The company later blamed Lapsus$. See more on the Uber Hacks
3] The Rockstar Breach
Another potential Lapsus$ episode: the unfortunate hacking of Rockstar Games. This summer, a cybercriminal group managed to get inside the gaming giant’s network and subsequently stole and leaked early development footage of the upcoming Grand Theft Auto VI. A 17-year-old was arrested for the crime in London “on suspicion of hacking, as part of an investigation” into the incident. The teenager is thought to have been connected to the cybercrime gang Lapsus$. See more on the Rockstar Hacks
4] The LA School District Ransomware Attack
America’s second largest school district got pillaged by ransomware hackers earlier this year, and, boy, was it a bummer. Yes, the Los Angeles Unified School District got hacked in September by a group calling itself Vice Society. The attack paralyzed certain IT systems and made a real mess of things for district schools. The hackers demanded a ransom, which the school district refused to pay. The hackers later released 500 gigabytes of the district’s data in response.
5] The $620 Million Axie Infinity Hack
One of the biggest cryptocurrency hacks of all time happened earlier this year. The crypto video game company Axie Infinity ended up getting pillaged for a whopping $620 million worth of crypto. Authorities later claimed that North Korean cybercriminals tied to the hacker group Lazarus were behind the massive theft. See more on the Infinity Hacks
5] The California Gun Owners Doxxing Episode
In a bizarre episode, the state of California accidentally doxxed every single legal gun owner in the state. The incident took place this summer, after the California Justice Department launched a new website that was designed to be a portal for anonymous and aggregated information on gun owners. The website, it turned out, was not so anonymous. Instead, public information on gun owners—including sensitive info like names, birthdays, and addresses—was left exposed to the internet. The website was swiftly taken down, and the state government apologized for the mistake.
7] The Wormhole Bridge Attack
Another giant cryptocurrency hack this year was the Wormhole bridge attack. A decentralized finance (DeFi) platform that helped customers with asset transfer, Wormhole was quite the success story for a time. Unfortunately, in February, someone hacked it, and *poof* $325 million in crypto went up in smoke. Oddly, the hacker later returned a lot of the funds, but the whole thing remains an example of how money can evaporate in the course of a day when it comes to the DeFi world.
8] The Conti Ransomware Leaks
One of the most interesting data breaches of the year involved a well-known group of hackers getting hacked. The Conti ransomware group, which has been tied to some very major hacking episodes, was itself hacked by Ukrainian hacktivists. The Ukrainians spilled internal chats and other information from the ransomware group onto the web. The contents of the leak provided some of the most comprehensive insights yet into the way major ransomware groups conduct their lucrative business. See more on the Conti Hacks
9] Everything Associated With Log4j
Last December, one of the most catastrophic bugs ever popped up: a nasty vulnerability in the widely used open source software program Log4j. The bug quickly panicked the internet—and for good reason. Since that time, companies have been getting hacked left, right, and center. See more on the Log4J vulnerability
10] The Goatse/Elementary School Debacle
Okay, okay, this may not have been the biggest, nor one of the most expensive, cyber incidents of the year, but it was the funniest. To make a long story short: some joker hacked an app that was widely used by elementary school administrators and parents throughout the country. What did they do once they had hacked it? Naturally, they decided to spam users with the infamous Goatse meme—a horrendous image of a man bending over and spreading his butt cheeks wide open to expose his gaping dark hole to the world. Naturally, the apps’ users were mortified. It’s somewhat unclear how many schools were affected by this horrendous practical joke, but it might have been a lot.
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- Globally, 30,000 websites are hacked daily.
- 64% of companies worldwide have experienced at least one form of a cyber attack.
- There were 20M breached records in March 2021.
- In 2020, ransomware cases grew by 150%.
- Email is responsible for around 94% of all malware.
- Every 39 seconds, there is a new attack somewhere on the web.
- An average of around 24,000 malicious mobile apps are blocked daily on the internet.