5 Biggest Cyber Attacks of 2014 – Are you Protected?

May 15
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Cyber attacks on Australian businesses rose by 20% in 2014 according to a recent report. Six in ten companies in Australia say they have suffered multiple system crashes lasting up to six hours with cyber attacks costing the country’s large enterprises an estimated $8.3 million a year.

Are you prepared if a major cyber breach occurs in your business or government department? As hackers become more and more sophisticated in their attacks, basic safeguards are no longer enough to keep you protected. Just look at these examples from some of the biggest brands in the world from last year alone:

1.  Sony
In one of the more embarrassing leaks of 2014, Sony saw masses of confidential information released online following a hack by a group calling themselves the “Guardians of Peace”. The attack delayed the release of The Interview following threats from the hackers and left many top execs red-faced after their correspondence about various industry names was exposed. Worse still, it lay bare extensive personal details of thousands of staff members – two of whom have taken legal action against their employer for their cyber security failings.

2.  Apple

Arguably the most high profile breach of the year, the hacking of Apple’s iCloud saw hundreds of private, mostly nude celebrity photos circulate rapidly across the web and social media. Reports claim that hackers had been at work for months before the mass release of the images, which prompted Apple to launch an investigation into the security of the platform.

3.  JPMorgan Chase

JPMorgan was affected by one of the most significant banking hacks in history when the account details of 83 million households and businesses were left exposed by attackers in 2014. The bank reportedly spends $250 million a year on cyber security, but the New York Times claims their system was compromised after two-factor authentication was left off following a server upgrade.

4.  eBay

The personal details of every one of eBay’s 145 million users were accessed in a massive attack on the online marketplace last year. Like in many similar cyber breaches, eBay believes it all began with the theft of employee log in credentials – likely through phishing according to Forbes. The site was forced to contact all of its users urging them to change their passwords immediately, both for eBay and any other sites they used the same log in details for.

5.  Target

An attack that began just before peak Christmas season in 2013, the full extent of credit card detail theft from Target in the US wasn’t truly felt until early the next year. Malware installed on the retailer’s payments system obtained data from 40 million shoppers’ credit cards. Just six months earlier, Target had spent $1.6 million installing malware detection software created by a security firm that counts the CIA and Pentagon among their customers.

Even with the best of intentions and precautions in place, Australian businesses and government departments are dangerously susceptible to increasingly frequent cyber attacks. Learn how to go beyond basic protection to develop cyber resilient processes and integrate a whole of business approach to cyber security at the Building Cyber Resilience Conference. Book before June 5th and save $600 on ticket prices.

Cyber Resilience Conference


Submitted by Jessica Farrelly

Jessica Farrelly

Jessica is part of the marketing team at Criterion, specialising in content and social media. Originally from Ireland, she’s an avid traveller and moved to Sydney after a year spent living out of a backpack in Asia.

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