Cyberattacks have been around for as long as the internet has been around, from little pranks to one-off hacks and phishing attacks aimed at stealing the credit card information of a handful of people. However, in recent years cyberattacks have become much more sophisticated and target institutional targets of enormous weight for the global economy and society.
Viruses like Wannacry have been able to infect thousands of computers in a very short period of time and put hundreds of institutions in check, taking center stage in television news and showing that cyber threats are increasingly dangerous in the world. world we live in. These are the biggest cyberattacks in recent years and the enormous impact they have had on the international economy.
1. Wannacry – $ 4 billion
Widely regarded as the largest cyber attack in history, this ransomware attack was carried out in 2017 by the WannaCry virus . I still do not know who or who were the people who carried out this attack, which infected thousands of computers around the world and caused millions in losses to companies such as Telefónica, Nissan, Hitachi, Renault, FedEx or Deutsche Bahn.
It is estimated that this attack caused economic damages of 4 billion dollars, although the figure may be higher, especially considering that many of the affected companies have preferred to hide their losses for reasons of image and valuation in the market.
2. Epsilon – $ 4 billion
Very close to Wannacry, though much less famous, is the Epsilon leak . Epsilon was a leading email marketing service provider in the 2000s, until it suffered a hack that exposed the data of more than 60 million users. This hack led to the leakage of information from companies such as JP Morgan, Citigroup, BestBuy and VISA, among many others. This led to losses that have been valued at up to 4 billion dollars both by these companies themselves and by the users whose data was exposed.
Unlike the Wannacry attack, which was massive and affected thousands of institutions around the world, the Epsilon leak only took place at one company, but affected many others that worked with it.
3. NotPetya – $ 3 billion
We return to ransomware, this time with the NotPetya cyberattack , also in 2017. In imitation of the Wannacry attack, NotPetya exploited a vulnerability in Windows to infect computers, encrypt your files and replicate itself to spread to as many computers as it could reach.
The attack originated in Ukraine and spread throughout Europe, the United States and Australia. The attack caused economic damages worth more than 3 billion dollars until it could be contained thanks to various Windows patches.
How to protect yourself against cyberattacks?
Cyberattacks can affect any computer, even without the hacker specifically proposing to do so.
The Wannacry case is a good example, and left anecdotes in which the attackers decrypted the files of some small self-employed workers because they did not want to affect people without financial resources to pay the ransom of their equipment. To protect your computers and your private data, it is essential that you adopt certain preventive measures.
1. Use strong passwords
Using strong passwords is one of the essential measures to ensure that your accounts are only accessible by you and cannot be hacked by a dictionary attack. Avoid simple passwords like your partner’s name or your anniversary date, and go for passwords that are impossible to guess.
2. Use a VPN
A VPN will keep your connection encrypted at all times, so that only you and the website you are visiting can access the data you send and receive. This protection is so robust that even if you connect from a vulnerable Wi-Fi network, your data will remain safe and unbreakable for hackers.
3. Keep your systems up to date
All Windows, Android, MacOS or iOS updates are essential to ensure the proper functioning of your computers. The Wannacry and NotPetya attacks were neutralized when Windows updated its system, so never put off an update.
4. Use professional antivirus
Antivirus is still one of the most important tools to keep the integrity of your computer safe. Don’t let malicious software ruin your day: use an anti-malware program to prevent any possible infection on your system.