Sony and the biggest hacks of 2014

By Gabriela Chavez

(CNNMexico) – In 2014, cybercrime got intimate. From the wave of leaked photos that undressed Jennifer Lawrence and other actresses in front of millions of netizens to the exposure of emails and user accounts of different Sony platforms. The most relevant hacks of the last twelve months focused on making the most private of their victims public.

Since 2013, the trend of taking government sites out of operation has intensified and the value of the data and information that hackers obtain has increased, which generates greater profits for their crimes, says the director of Innovation and Technology of Trend Micro, Juan Pablo Castro.

Until the third quarter of 2014, Trend Micro discovered 59,786 malicious sites hosted in Mexico from which malware was distributed, figures that on a global scale translated into at least four million different cyber threats generated in the year; However, beyond the technical damage, the greatest impact of these threats is economic, according to the McAfee Center for International Strategy for Cybercrime Studies.

“The most serious cost of cybercrime comes from the economic damage it causes to countries; cybercrime damages commercial exchange, competitiveness; innovation and global economic growth ”, details the centre’s report, published in mid-2014.

The report rates the annual cost of cybercrime at $ 400 billion.

These are some of the hacks that generated notable scandals and online attention throughout 2014:

1. Sony, revealed: At the end of November, the Japanese firm suffered a hack in its system that, to this day, continues to expose company secrets; from salaries that show gender inequality, actor bonuses, films not yet released and strategies against the competition.

Read. FBI blames North Korea for ‘hacking’ Sony

Specialists consider that the theft of 100 terabytes of information and its publication would have an economic damage of 100 million dollars.

The hackers stole and exposed internal emails that showed that only one Sony executive makes more than a million dollars; They revealed that Sony bought the rights to make the Mario Bros. film from Nintendo and also that racial comments against US President Barack Obama.

Some of the secrets revealed were the opinions on the work of actors like Angelina Jolie, of whom the directors think “has little talent” like the comedian of 48 years Adam Sandler.

The attack has been listed as one of the most damaging in recent years.

2. Hollywood exposed: On September 26, compromising photos of actresses such as Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence, Kayle Cuoco, Kate Upton and others were posted on 4Chan.org. The photographs, and later erotic videos of the actresses attracted millions of curious glances, prompting demands from the stars and a campaign, spearheaded by Lawrence, in favor of privacy and respect for the privacy of public figures.

3. Bleeds heart: In April, the malware known as Heartbleed shook most Internet firms because its way of attacking was through the servers on which these companies operate. Facebook, Google, Instagram, Uber, and other digital companies were affected by such malware. This type of malware makes it possible to read parts of the memory of the affected computers and access confidential information.

4. Improving the house: In September 56 million card numbers and 53 million email addresses of users and customers of the Home Depot store were stolen by hackers. The data was stolen when the cybercriminals breached a provider; the intention was to access confidential information of the chain. The attack cost the firm $ 62 million.

5. JP Morgan opens the door: In August, an employee with few security measures and weak passwords was the gateway for the US bank JP Morgan, one of the largest in that country, to breach its system. The attack compromised 76 million bank accounts for individuals and 7 million for companies; After the incident, the bank promised to invest twice what it used to invest in security to avoid recurrences. The bank already invested 250 million dollars annually in cybersecurity.

6. Outside the box: In November, the cloud information container service, Dropbox, suffered a cyber attack that compromised the email and password information of at least 7 million users of the service worldwide. The hack was leaked through the hacker site, Pastebin, where information from 400 accounts was leaked; those responsible requested a reward in bitcoins to return control of the accounts to their owners. The firm, to date, still denies the incident.

7. From Russia to the world: Two cyberattacks from Russia became relevant this year. In the first, it was announced about the theft of more than 1,200 million passwords from 420,000 internet sites; In the second we saw how a page in this country shared live the private videos of almost 4,600 cameras in the United States and thousands more in other parts of the world.

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