This year will be marked in the tech history for producing the largest and most critical hacking and data breaches in recent memory.
Historic Yahoo Breach
Certainly, the incidents that have transpired at Yahoo took the cake in terms of sheer breadth of the data breached. Back in September, the company revealed that a staggering 500 million user accounts have been compromised. The hacking began in 2014 and must have continued until it was discovered this year.
Several months later, Yahoo outdid itself in this respect after it confirmed that a different case of hacking has been carried out and, this time, it involved at least 1 billion user accounts. What is worse is that Yahoo only learned about the incident from a federal law enforcement agency.
In a separate incident, Yahoo was also revealed to have allowed a U.S. federal agency to intercept its users incoming emails.
Back in October, United States bore the brunt of an attack by a botnet that took over thousands of household appliances like webcams and DVRs to launch a so-called distributed denial of service (DDoS) against Dyn, a leading U.S. domain name system provider. The attack, which used a malware called Mirai, left millions unable to find major websites such as Netflix and Twitter for one whole day.
This year also saw the emergence of an upstart hacking group called OurMine. This group of allegedly young hackers have carried out social media hacks and possibly attacked popular online platforms such as the Pokémon GO game, BuzzFeed, and Variety. What adds to the level of OurMine's notoriety is its successful hacking of several prominent personalities' social media accounts. Its growing list of distinguished victims includes Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google's Sundar Pichai, and Twitter's Jack Dorsey, among others.
2016 will also be remembered as pivotal since hacking has spilled over the political sphere, thanks to a person, a group or, yes, a government, hiding behind the hacker calling itself Guccifer 2.0. This character has successfully launched a series of attacks against the Democratic National Committee. The stolen data has caused the resignation of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and possibly cost Hillary Clinton the presidency.
A separate group of hackers were also able to steal data from the NSA, which includes a hacking tool that can infect devices with a malware.
Hacking The San Bernardino iPhone
When the battle between the FBI and Apple seemed to have ended in an impasse in the latter's efforts to solve the San Bernardino terrorist attack, the federal law enforcement agency turned to a security company to get past iPhone's encryption technology. The breach was successful and the entire affair will most assuredly establish precedent on issues like individual privacy and government-sanctioned hacking.