The Costliest Hacks in History

24 Sep 2015

The Costliest Hacks in History

2015 has seen the issue of cyber-attacks hitting the headlines more than ever, but what exactly have been the costliest hacks in history?

1982 – Cold War Logic Bomb

Due to the murkiness of Cold War espionage this incident is tricky to verify whether it was real or not. Apparently the CIA managed to blow up a Soviet gas pipeline in Siberia without using any form of conventional weapons. Instead, the CIA is said to have inserted a logic bomb into the computer system that was in charge of controlling the gas pipeline. When the logic bomb was triggered, the resulting explosion was apparently the ‘most monumental non-nuclear explosion ever’. Since the pipeline travelled through a remote area in Siberia, no casualties were reported. This attack is considered to be one of the costliest hacks in history due to being one of the first events that made the world aware of the potential of cyber-attacks.

2004 – Titan Rain

In the year 2004 several US and military networks including NASA and Lockheed Martin had been hacked. The FBI called the daring attack, Titan-Rain. Through investigations, Chinese backed hacker cells were fingered as the culprits. It is thought that military intelligence, classified data and weapons research was stolen. Due to the scale of the attack and the information stolen the cost of is impossible to quantify and we may not have seen the full consequences.

2007 - TJX.

Using an insecure WiFi network in one of the company’s TJ Maxx stores, hackers were able to breach the company's systems and stole the credit card details of 45 million people. Experts however believe that the real number was nearer 94 million. The attack is considered to be one of the most expensive hacks in history.

2011 – Sony Network Hack

Anyone who received a PlayStation 3 for Christmas in 2011 was left very frustrated as they were unable to get online to play. At the time it was not yet known that the hack that caused the disruption was the worst hack of a gaming community in history as well as one of the costliest. 77 million PlayStation Network accounts were hacked and 12 million credit card details stolen.

2013 – Target

In November 2013 the Target Corporation announced that it had been hacked. Around 40 million credit and debit card details were stolen. The size of the hack makes it the second largest theft of card details in history.

2014 – Sony Pictures

Sony was hacked again in 2014 but this time it was Sony Pictures. North Korea was linked to the unprecedented hack, which drove the studio to cancel release of the movie The Interview. The hack saw the theft of tonnes of sensitive data, but in the long run the impact was somewhat countered as Sony ended up releasing The Interview anyway at a later date.

Don’t become a target, invest in protection and seek the advice of the professionals such as those at PGI Cyber.


Share this article


Your free global geopolitical
risk dashboard

PGI’s Risk Portal tool provides daily intelligence feeds, country threat assessments and analytical insights, enabling clients to track, understand and navigate geopolitical threats.

The Risk Portal gives users up-to-date information and analysis on global affairs.

The Risk Portal allows users to visualise information in a unique and instantly understandable way. Mapping filters enable the visualisation of incidents by threat category, time period, perpetrator and target type.

Risk Portal users can upgrade their accounts to include the Report Builder and Country Profile Generator features. The Report Builder allows users to select information, data and images from the Risk Portal and create bespoke reports and emails.

Subscribers to PGI’s Bespoke services receive tailored analysis on specific sectors and geographies of interest, delivered at a frequency they determine.

Visit the Risk Portal

Subscribe to our Cyber Bytes Newsletter

Keep yourself in the loop with PGI by signing up to our Monthly Cyber Bytes email. You will receive updates, tips and narrative around what has been happening in the world of information security.

Get in touch today

For more information on how we can help you or your business, please contact us via:

Related News

CISMP, CISSP and CISM - what's in an acronym?

20 Mar 2017

There is a wide range of different security courses available, and a mind-boggling array of certific...

Read news article

International Womens Day - Pioneering Women in Tec...

08 Mar 2017

Pioneering Women in Technology – Katherine JohnsonThe Oscar season has been and gone. The...

Read news article

Law Firms and why they need cyber security

06 Mar 2017

Suffering a data breach can be devastating for any company but for law firms the impacts can be part...

Read news article
Back to the News Hub

Follow us

+44 (0)207 887 2699
©2017 PGI - Protection Group International Ltd. All rights reserved.
PGI - Protection Group International Ltd is registered in England & Wales, reg. no. 07967865
Registered address: Cascades 1, 1190 Park Avenue, Aztec W, Almondsbury, Bristol BS32 4FP