The Most Important Hacker Attacks in History

From the virus that was accidentally launched, to the malware that hit the PlayStation Network: Here are some of the most sensational hacker attacks ever detected.

WannaCry, the ransomware attack that several weeks ago has infected worldwide more than 300,000 computers, has highlighted how fragile computer security, constantly threatened by numerous viruses and malware, increasingly sophisticated and difficult to Block.

Hacker attacks have always been there since the advent of the Internet. But in recent years, also because of the use in any field of connected devices, have grown exponentially. And then there’s also another data to consider behind this incredible proliferation: the reasons. There are, in fact, a number of economic and especially political reasons underlying the majority of hacker attacks. Today, they support many experts, governments are fighting with shots not of firearms, but of cyber-violations. Having done this brief premise, let’s now try to rebuild the most sensational hacker attacks in history.

Morris Worm

One of the oldest hacker attacks, and the first to stir up clamor, was the Morris Worm, which took the name of its creator, Robert Tapas Morris, a student at Cornell University. The boy had developed the worm not to unleash a malicious computer violation, but to measure the vastness of the cyberspace. But when the virus was placed on the network, the Morris code, after having encountered an error, turned into a malware capable of infecting more than 6000 computers and causing damage that, according to some estimates, reached 100 million dollars. A dizzying figure for the time.

Google China

In 2009, the hackers targeted Google China, penetrating the servers of the Californian company. The cyber-criminals, using multiple worms, had managed to undermine the security system of Big G, stealing a series of confidential information. In particular, Google noticed that the cyber-criminals had compromised the Gmail accounts of many American, European and Chinese activists committed to defending human rights in the most populous country in the world. An attack that according to many experts had been concocted by the Beijing government.

Nasa and State Department

In 1999, Jonathan James, a 15-year-old boy, was able to infiltrate NASA computers and the U.S. State Department. The young man was able to spy on thousands of e-mails, containing many confidential documents, including passwords of military devices, by installing on the servers of the space agency and the State Department a backdoor. Through the stolen data, James will Impossesò, moreover, of a piece of code of a program of NASA.
Melissa Virus

Melissa was one of the worst viruses that ever hit Microsoft Word. The malicious code was acting by infecting the Redmond text program and then it spread sending itself as an email attachment to the first 50 contacts registered in Outlook, the email management software installed on compromised machines. Melissa was able to cause about 80 million dollars of damage.

Computer warfare between Russia and the United States

We are in 1982 and then the Internet was a tool for a few elected and used especially in the military. And already at that time the two main military powers of the world began to use computer science as a weapon to hit each other. The CIA, in fact, managed to penetrate the computer systems of a Siberian gas pipeline, installing a malicious code. The program when it was activated broke down the system that controlled the gas pumps, causing an increase in pressure and finally causing the explosion of the entire energy structure.

Credit cards and bank accounts

In the years two thousand are the data of users to finish under fire. A group of Ukrainian and Russian hackers from 2005 to 2012 acted undisturbed, stealing millions of bank information. It is estimated that the cybercriminals were able to collect 160 million of data connected to credit cards and 800,000 credentials of access to the current accounts of the victims, subsequently auctioned on the web. According to the data, it would seem that in all data stolen by hackers have yielded more than 300 million dollars.


In 2011, many experts in computer security were thrilled when they discovered that for 5 years, from 2006 to 2011, a virus had been able to spread in wildfire through a simple email attachment. The malicious code, identified by Symantec, known company specializing in cybersecurity, hit immediately after the victim opened the attachment, without leaving any trace. Once installed on the machines, ShadyRat was able to seize all the files stored on the infected computers, including those of important international institutions and organizations.


Also in 2011 there was another sensational attack, the first of its kind. Hackers were the users of the Sony video game console. The cyber criminals, in fact, pierced the PSN, the PlayStation Network, a system that allows members to play online with other players. The data of about 77 million users, including many sensitive information such as passwords and credit cards, were put at serious risk by the computer breach. As a result, Sony was forced to suspend the servers, inviting subscribers to change their access data.

Attack on Israeli computer systems

And we close with one of the most dangerous attacks, considering the target targeted: the Iranian nuclear power plants. Israel and the United States, according to what is said, launched a virus, known as Stuxnet, which struck from 2006 to 2010, before it was discovered, the nuclear structure of Natanz. The function of the malware was to increase the speed of the turbines of the plant, leading to collapse.