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Biggest Hacks in 2020

03 February, 2021

The year 2020 witnessed a staggering increase in global losses from cybercrime, reaching nearly $1 trillion. Cyberattacks occur with alarming frequency, despite advancements in security measures. Hackers continuously strive to stay ahead, and even the COVID-19 pandemic failed to deter their activities.

The shift towards remote work during the pandemic has transformed the hacking landscape. In fact, up to 20% of all cybersecurity attacks in 2020 targeted the new remote workforce, as reported by With employees and companies adapting to remote operations, hackers recognized the vulnerabilities associated with this transition.

Cyberwarfare has become the battlefield of the 21st century and beyond

Hackers can be categorized into three primary types based on their motivations. Firstly, there are criminals seeking financial gain through the theft of credit card information and personal data, which they then sell to illicit third parties. Secondly, foreign powers engage in destructive hacks with political motivations, aiming to disrupt economies and instill fear among civilians.

Finally, there are hackers who simply enjoy causing chaos and consider themselves intellectually superior. Some claim to be whistleblowers targeting government projects they perceive as unjust. However, their hacking attempts often result in indiscriminate damage, wiping out or stealing years’ worth of data and research. In such cases, they fail to resemble the heroic figures they may claim to be.

Some of the biggest hacks in 2020

Examining the prominent hacks of 2020 provides valuable insights for enhancing both corporate and personal security. Malware attacks, wherein invasive software infiltrates computers to corrupt or destroy files and programs, remain prevalent.

Travelex fell victim to a malicious malware attack in January 2020, resulting in undisclosed financial losses and compromised private records. Individuals who shared personal information, including credit card numbers, with Travelex now face increased risks.

Estee Lauder had over 440 million internal records exposed due to middleware and other security failures. While not identical to malware, middleware adds complexity to systems. Positioned between the operating system and applications on a PC, it enables hackers to manipulate, duplicate, or encrypt data passing through it.

Phishing attacks, another common hacking method, affected Virgin Media, Whisper, and Marriott in January, February, and March, respectively. By employing phishing tactics to obtain login credentials and passwords, hackers gained unauthorized access to countless records. Consequently, millions of innocent individuals now face potential credit card fraud, drained bank accounts, or identity theft.

Key Lessons to Learn

These examples represent only a fraction of the numerous cyberattacks occurring worldwide. They highlight the fact that hackers can often find vulnerabilities, regardless of our perceived level of security. Inadequate training and a lack of user awareness are significant contributors to information breaches.

Ransomware attacks, data loss, and stolen files pose severe threats to businesses and individuals alike. Despite existing robust security measures, stronger corporate security protocols and comprehensive employee training are imperative. Eliminating middleware, typically detected by antivirus programs, whenever feasible, can bolster security. Moreover, businesses handling sensitive data should consider implementing better walled gardens to safeguard private records.

Instead of merely lamenting the companies affected by these attacks, it is crucial to demand that they learn from these incidents. Hackers will continue to seek new ways to exploit data, making it vital for organizations to prioritize robust cybersecurity measures.

If you have concerns about the strength and safety of your cybersecurity infrastructure, please don’t hesitate to contact us. As your trusted Managed Service Provider, we are committed to ensuring the utmost security for your valuable data.

03 February, 2021