All statistics make a clear trend visible: The number of cyber attacks is rising. The average damage per incident increases. And vulnerability increases with the spread of the Internet of Things – rather the “Internet of Everything” (IoE). Another increase in cyber attacks will be caused by the new mobile phone standard 5G.

It helps to understand the magnitude of the problem when you take a look at the major cyber attacks in the past five year. Here’s a chronicle of the cyber attacks between 2015 and today. This timeline is of course not complete. This chronicle, however, will still give you an idea of the problem at hand; it will also make it visible, that even Big Tech Players are not exempt from successful cyber attacks on their digital infrastructure.

July 2020. TWITTER accounts of celebrities hacked. Among others, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Barack Obama were affected. The hacked accounts called for donations to a specified banking account. A 17-year-old orchestrated the successful attack. Read more HERE

June 2020. US wearables supplier and navigation specialist Garmin. A cyber attack placed encryption software that paralyzed online service and customer support. Users of Garmin devices received a warning about “maintenance work”. Read more HERE

April 2020. Portuguese energy company EDP. The energy giant Energias de Portugal (EDP) is one of the largest multinational energy companies in Europe. Hackers have succeeded in stealing 10 terabytes of data. The hackers demanded a ransom of about 10 million euros. Read more HERE

March 2020. Ransomware attack on hospital in Brno / Czech Republic: At the height of the Covid crisis, hackers successfully attacked the university hospital in Brno, Czech Republic. All computers had to be shut down. All patients, who were dependent on modern equipment and systems, had to be transferred to other hospitals. Read more HERE

October 2019, Pilz Group. Even experts are not protected against hacker attacks. The Pilz Group from Swabia is regarded as a safety expert in industrial process automation.

September 2019. Berlin Court of Appeal. Ransomware attack. Over 500 computers, over 100 servers were taken off the net. For months, communication with the courts could only be done by phone, fax or mail.

June 2019. Ransomware attack on jewelry chain WEMPE On 24.06.2019 nothing worked anymore. A cyber attack had paralyzed all IT systems. According to (unconfirmed) media reports, a ransom (Bitcoin) in the amount of millions was paid to get the IT systems working again.

May 2019.First American Corporation 885 million (!) records were publicly available, including several million records with details of bank accounts, wire transfers and mortgage loans. More info HERE

April 2019. Facebook Data leakage at Facebook. Approximately 540 million data records were affected or 146 gigabytes of user data: Data about account names, IDs, details about comments and reactions. Learn more HERE

Dec 2018. Marriott Internationl. More than 500 mio. data sets are hacked. Learn more HERE

Feb 2018. GitHub GitHub is a well-known online service for managing programming code for software development projects. At the end of February, a DDoS attack occurred, which had an unprecedented impact: 1.35 terabits per second. The website was down for several minutes. According to GitHub, however, user data was not at risk at any time.

June 2017. NotPetya Although the virus was repeatedly compared with WannaCry, it caused relatively little damage. Computers with missing security updates were affected (especially in Russia and Ukraine). Computers with older operating systems such as Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows Server 8 were mostly affected.

Mai 2017. RansomWare WannyCry. This virus has infected more than 100 000 computers in about 150 countries. The infected computers were encrypted, the blackmailers demanded ransom money. Behind the attack is the so-called Lazarus group, the most well-known North Korean hacker unit. This group has been active since 2009. Their successful hacks include the Sony hack on November 24, 2014, which paralyzed the entire network for days. Speciality of the troop: Spear-fishing campaigns.

Nov 2016. Dating App Friend Finder Networks. Due to inadequate security measures, 412 million data records were captured by hackers. Learn more HERE

June 2016. US-Democrats. No less than 20,000 internal Democratic mails are captured in a hacker attack. These are later published on WikiLeaks, among others. The Russian secret service is suspected to be behind the attack. Intention: Manipulation of the US presidential election in the same year. More info HERE

April 2016. Panama Papers. The cyber attack was on the legal service provider Mossack Fonseca from Panama. About 2.6 terabytes of (politically highly explosive) data were captured. The data makes it transparent how dozens of politicians and corporate leaders are setting up tax-saving models with offshore companies. For example, the prime minister of Iceland had to resign because of the “Panama Papers” affair.

Februar 2016. Central Bank of Bangladesch. On Friday, February 5, 2016, the Central Bank of Bangladesh will be hacked. Several money transactions will be triggered, in total over a volume of 950 million US dollars. Damage in the end (not all transactions get executed): 81 mio. US-Dollar.

July 2015. Hack on fling agency Ashley Madison. 32 million users of the service have been affected (and marriages on a painful scale have gone awry, in many cases broken straight away). A startling discovery in the context of this hack: (Predominantly) male users had flirted with supposedly registered female users via chat at Ashley Madison – but in fact so-called chat bots were acting on behalf of the “virtual users”: i.e. software programs that faked conversation.


The author is a manager in the software industry with international expertise: Authorized officer at one of the large consulting firms - Responsible for setting up an IT development center at the Bangalore offshore location - Director M&A at a software company in Berlin.