4 Hacker Horror Stories: Frightening Tales of Virtual Scares

Gather around the campfire for chilling tales of the most fearsome creature lurking in the dark.

They snatch your business data and hold it for ransom. They leak your sensitive business data online. They leave behind no digital traces. They’re cyber attackers. Mawhahaha (Wow. I just gave myself goosebumps).

With Halloween just around the corner, we thought it was the perfect time to share a few frightening tales of what happens when hackers strike. If you’re reading this at night, you may want to wait until daytime to read these. You’ve been warned.

1) University of Central Florida

College: a time of self-discovery, learning new things and…having your data stolen? In February 2016, 63,000 current and former students and staff members of the University of Central Florida had their data stolen when a hacker breached the school’s system. According to a statement written by the university, Social Security numbers were compromised, but no “credit card information, financial records, medical [and] health records, [or] grades” were.

In response, the university mailed letters to all students and staff potentially impacted by the incident. They also offered to pay for one year of credit monitoring and identity protection (the deadline to sign up for these free services was in May).

2) U.S. Department of Justice

It turns out not even government agencies are safe from data breaches. Angered by US relations with Israel, a hacker breached the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) database and allegedly stole, “hundreds of gigabytes of data.” The hacker claimed the data was stolen after compromising a DOJ employee’s email account.  

The hackers released data on over 9,000 Department of Home Security employees one day, and then released data on 20,000 FBI employees – including ones outside the U.S. – the next day. Stolen data included names, email addresses, locations, telephone numbers and titles. The hackers claimed it took the DOJ a week to realize their system had been compromised.

3) Premier Healthcare

In March 2016, Premier Healthcare, a multi-specialty provider healthcare group, reported a data breach after a laptop containing sensitive patient information was stolen from their billing department. While the laptop was password protected, it was not encrypted.

The laptop held the information of more than 200,000 patients. While most of the stolen data consisted of patient names, dates of birth, and clinical data, the Social Security numbers and financial information of 1,769 individuals may have been compromised.

4) Snapchat

In May 2016, the personal information of 700 current and former Snapchat employees was stolen when an employee fell victim to a phishing email scam. The phishing email was disguised as a message from Snapchat’s CEO Evan Spiegel and asked for payroll information. The employee thought the email was legitimate and complied.

The good news: no user data was compromised. Snapchat contacted all affected employees and offered two years of identity-theft monitoring and insurance. They’re also strengthening employee training programs to avoid future mishaps.

Are you next?

Knowing that all types of businesses are vulnerable to cyberattacks is scary. What’s even scarier is that we’ve barely skimmed the surface of data breaches. These are only a handful of data hacks in what has become a tidal wave of breaches.

The danger is out there. All businesses are at risk of cyberattacks. Without a solid data security solution, not to mention comprehensive backup and recovery services, your business won’t stand a chance against the hackers that haunt your virtual footsteps.

Don’t let your business become yet another victim of cyber attackers. Learn how you can secure your data and keep the virtual monsters at bay by downloading our Security, Manageability, and Reliability: The Keys to Safe Data guide below.

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