I’ve previously discussed several of the world’s most notorious online hacks. I figured I would continue this series and take you down memory lane with two more of the worst online attacks in history.
This is quite possibly one of the most unique and tragic hacks in the history of cyber crime. In 1999, a young hacker by the name of Jonathan James committed one of the most stunning cybercrimes to that point in time: he was able to hack into the computers of both NASA and the US Department of Defense. At only 15 years old, Jonathan was able to install a backdoor into the US Department of Defense’s servers which gave Jonathan access to over three thousand private messages, which included usernames and passwords. Jonathan also installed a backdoor into NASA’s servers which granted him access to a portion of the aeronautics organization’s software. The attack cost NASA $41,000 to repair. Once caught, Jonathan was sentenced to house arrest and probation, and was required to write letters of apology to both NASA and the Department of Defense. Unfortunately, Jonathan was suspected of being involved in another series of online hacks in 2004, and took his own life in 2008.
The TJX Attacks
Going off of Jonathan’s story, the attack that he was suspected of being a part of turned out to be quite a large attack. Jonathan was suspected of being a part of a group of hackers named the “Shadowcrew.” The crew, led by Albert Gonzalez, managed to steal over 45 million credit and debit card numbers from shoppers of the TJX company, which owns the TJ Maxx and Marshalls retail stores. Gonzalez, the mastermind behind the operation, supposedly took on an expensive lifestyle and spent millions of dollars. And this wasn’t Gonzalez’s only series of attacks. He also led attacks on Dave & Busters and Heartland Payment. Gonzalez was put on trial in 2010 for his TJX hacks and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. He was incredibly remorseful for his actions, and hopefully, once he is released he will be a changed man.
Cybercrime has been going on for years, and it shows no signs of stopping. Hopefully we can learn from history and, as a society, boost our respective network security systems and prevent situations like this from ever happening.
Be sure to check back in for even more of the worst online hacks in history!