5 Famous Examples of Famous Cyber Heists

Major heists have occurred throughout most of human history. Bold criminals have often made a name for themselves robbing banks, stagecoaches, and even modern armored cars. Heists are so iconic that they have their own movie genre with blockbuster hits like Ocean’s 11. While physical heists still occur today, it is often the cyber criminals that are able to walk away with the biggest hauls.

There are hundreds of cyber heists that take place each year. Most of the time they are pretty small scale, but still have a significant impact on the victims. Sometimes, however, a cyber heist is so large that the criminals can get away with financial information for millions of people, cause huge amounts of damage, and even demand millions in ransom. Take a look at some of the most famous examples of cyber heists to see just how devastating they can be:

Sony PlayStation Hack

The Sony PlayStation Network allows millions of people to play various games together over the Internet. In 2011, their systems were hacked and the personally identifiable information (including financial information) was stolen for 77 million users. At the time, this was one of the largest cyber heists of its time, and it received a huge amount of publicity.

Sony had to take their online gaming network down for 23 days to address the security breach. Between lost revenue, lawsuits, and a hit to the reputation, Sony lost untold millions from the breach. The criminals made a huge amount of money as well by using the financial data for fraud, selling it on the dark web, and more.

Mt. Gox Hack

While most people have heard of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency today, in 2014 it was all still in its infancy. An exchange called Mt. Gox was the largest place that facilitated the buying and selling of Bitcoin – until they were hacked. The criminals got away with 850,000 Bitcoin, worth about $450 million at the time. As of today, they would be worth a little more than $28 billion. On top of the direct loss of the Bitcoin, this hack caused the price of cryptocurrency to plummet, setting Bitcoin back several years.

Ashley Madison Data Breach

In 2015, a website called Ashley Madison had a data breach. This website is used by married members who are looking to have an affair. Given the clientele of the site, privacy was especially important. Since the real names and addresses of the users were stolen, it left many members vulnerable. Some endured extortion attempts, and some even committed suicide. While the criminals who engaged in the hack may not have walked away with the most valuable assets, there is little doubt that this cyber heist is one of the most famous to ever take place.

Equifax Hack

Your credit report contains a huge amount of important information about you and your finances. This is why the 2017 hack of Equifax systems was particularly well known and devastating. The personal information of over 145 million people in America, Canada, and Britain were stolen in this heist. That information was quickly sold on the dark web, making the criminals a lot of money. Equifax had to give the victims of the free credit monitoring.

SolarWinds Hack

While not quite as well-known as the others on this list, the SolarWinds breach that took place in January 2021 was one of the most impactful. SolarWinds is a network monitoring and management system that is used by virtually every major business around the world, including banks and government agencies. Their systems were breached, putting the company data of every user at risk. A significant amount of information was directly stolen, and businesses lost countless millions in hours trying to protect their systems.

Recovering Assets After an Attack

If your business is ever the victim of a cyber heist, or you have been impacted by an attack on another company, it is important to take rapid action to protect your interests. The Stolen Asset Recovery Network can track down your stolen assets or information and get them back into your possession. While prevention is the best option when it comes to cybersecurity, you never want to let criminals get away with what is yours. Contact Stolen Asset Recovery Network today to discuss your options and learn how we can help you!

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STARNet, which is short for Stolen Asset Recovery Network, is a global alliance of independent law firms created to provide financial institutions and governments with multi-disciplinary services across countries and jurisdictions for locating, freezing, and ultimately recovering stolen assets related to cyber heists, fraud or corruption.

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