cyber attacks of 2020

The year 2020 is forever set in history as marked by significant events. Among the notable occurrences was a boom in cyber attacks. Digital criminals enacted widespread electronic mayhem in a world already reeling from a pandemic. The top cyber attacks of 2020 targeted the government, corporations, and the already chronically beleaguered medical industry, among others.

Assaults on healthcare technology are always devastating. Software outages caused by malicious virtual assailants can make information temporarily inaccessible, resulting in difficulty providing needed care and delays in vital treatments. With the mass influx of COVID-19 patients crowding facilities with limited resources and workers, the increase in cyber attacks on hospitals only made the overall situation more dire. Similar campaigns against those in other sectors also wreaked havoc.

These five cases highlight the seriousness of the rise in illegal online offensives.

1. Targeting of Officials Working on the Global COVID-19 Response

Hackers sent out a series of booby-trapped phishing emails meant to ensnare employees of the World Health Organization. The criminals hoped to steal their passwords and leak them on other websites. The agency’s Chief Information Security Officer, Flavio Aggio, reported that the scheme failed. However, this did not signal the end of such attempts. Other crooks employed similar tactics to impersonate WHO officials to acquire personal information and funds.

2. The FireEye Incident That Was Part of Something Much Larger

After learning of the theft of 300 of its proprietary products, cybersecurity company FireEye discovered that it was not the first struck. The perpetrators breached over 250 federal agencies and numerous high-profile companies in attacks estimated to have remained unnoticed for as long as nine months. The extent of the infiltration was deep, even including the monitoring of electronic correspondence within the U.S. Treasury and Commerce departments.

3. Strike on UMV Health Network That Infected Thousands of Network Computers

This maneuver against technology used in healthcare led to an over-40-day system outage. It also resulted in the compromising of 5,000 computers. At one point, losses attributed to it were over $1.5 million a day. The six hospitals under UMV’s umbrella had to put off many elective procedures.

4. False Unemployment Claim Hike

The year also saw a spike in fraudulent unemployment claims. Hackers stole taxpayers’ personal information and impersonated them. They did so through multiple avenues, including cold-calling, email scams, and existing data breaches.

5. T-Mobile’s Double Breach

Communications giant T-Mobile suffered two separate assaults. In the first incident, the offender accessed employee email accounts and made off with confidential details pertaining to both workers and clients. In the second, a different party took customer information. In the latter case, the data was less potentially harmful but still usable for nefarious purposes.

These are far from the only major unlawful digital events that took place in 2020. There was an overall uptick in cyber attacks across the nation. Healthcare technology users, software companies, and government organizations were among the vast number of victims.

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