Top 12 Cyber Security Stories Of 2015

Cyber attacks were on the rise in 2015, these attacks underlined the importance of cyber security and making sensitive data more immune to cyber attacks. Listed below are the stories that rocked both government and private establishments:

1. Less number of cyber-attacks reported in the UK

According to PwC’s Global State of Information Security Survey 2016, UK companies are safer and immune to cyber attacks in comparison to countries like United States. UK based companies have adopted new methods such as strategic collaboration, and information sharing to fortify their sensitive and confidential data from cyberattacks.

2. Scottrade data breach

The Scottish brokerage firm ‘Scottrade’ was the victim of a data breach in 2015. This has been one of the major cyber attacks that took place in 2015. The company officials learnt about the incident after they were informed by F.B.I. They immediately alerted their customers about the data breach. According to official sources, this data breach affected 4.6 million cases.

3. OPM data breach – One of the deadliest cyber attack

The cyber attack on Office of Personnel Management (OPM) impacted around 21.5 million people. The compromised data included Social Security Numbers (SSN) and biometric information. In the press release, the officials stated that 19.5 million out 21.5 million were waiting for their security clearance.

4. IRS data breached on a mammoth scale

Last year many cyber security attacks rocked the government establishment in the United States, and the attack on The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is said to be more lethal of all. According to the news inputs, this cyber attack must have impacted about 330,000 taxpayers. Sources have also indicated that this breach might have 220,000 additional taxpayers.

“IRS spending on cybersecurity is down by 20% since 2011, from $187 million four years ago to $149 million in the current fiscal year. (That’s actually less bad than it sounds. Funding plummeted to $129 million in 2012 before rebounding a bit in recent years.) The agency also lost key IT personnel when it was stripped of its ability to pay cybersecurity experts at higher-than-normal levels.” – CSO Staff

5. was hit by credit card breach

Internet service provider was hacked and the offenders stole credit card information of 93,000 customers. According to the website information set up by the company the breach took place on 13 of August last year. They learn about the breach during their regular security monitoring checks. According to news sources, the attackers compromised the data of 93,000 customers which also included their names and addresses. But the company officials revealed that it was only the credit card information that was affected and other confidential information like social security numbers were safe.

6. Premera Blue Cross data breach

One of the top insurance providers in the United States was also the victim of a data breach in 2015. According to news sources, approximately 11 million customers have been affected because of this data breach. This attack was considered as the second largest attack on the insurance company providers in the recent times (also consider checking this perfect guide for cyber security certification).

7. CareFirst data breach affected 1.1 million people

Carefirst data breach is another big story that shook the insurance industry in the United States. According to news inputs, around 1.1 million people were affected because of this data breach. The data that was compromised included user names, birth dates, email addresses and subscriber numbers. CareFirst officials affirmed that no other PII was exposed during the incident, including Social Security Numbers, medical claims, employment records, or financial data.

8. Poor defending

Even the best in the business were not spared in 2015. Bitdefender a popular internet security firm confirmed that there was a data breach and their customer usernames and passwords were hacked from their cloud-based system. The company officials reveled that their server was not penetrated, in fact, the flaw in the cloud system exposed them to the cyber attack.

9. Hacking of Ashley Madison website

The attack on Ashley Madison website was the most talked about the cyber attack in 2015. Ashley Madison is an adultery website and it was exposed for all the wrong reasons. The information that was stolen from the websites database was shared over the internet through file sharing websites and other mediums that contained names, emails, personal messages, emails, passport information and even tax records.

10. Hacking Team – Got Hacked By The Hackers

The hacking incident on Italian firm known as Hacking Team which develops surveillance software caught the attention of government and large private firms across the globe. This incident took place in July 2015, the incident also threw light on zero-day exploits and flaws in key products such as Adobe Flash. According to news inputs, approximately 400GB information was stolen from their main database. According to the news inputs, this attack was carried out to defame the Italian firm. The hackers also released huge chunks of data, that included internal mails, and also manipulated the companies twitter account as well.

11. Carphone Warehouse data breach

Carphone Warehouse officials admitted that in August 2015 they became a victim of a cyber attack. As a result, of this data breach, confidential information of 2.4 million customers was stolen that included 90,000 credit card records.

12. Leaving No Stone Unturned

Not only government and private establishments, hackers also exploited the onboard computers fitted in the vehicles. Fiat Chrysler’s Jeep Cherokee was the first of its kind hack in 2015. According to news inputs, hackers were able to penetrate into onboard computers of Jeep Cherokee and gained almost complete control over the car. The hackers could exercise their control over transmission, braking, steering, air conditioning and entertainment system fitted inside the car. This incident forced Fiat Chrysler to recall 1.4 million vehicles across a number of models and perform a re-check on all recalled vehicles.


Well, those were some grey patches in 2015, organizations and law renouncement agencies are working in tandem to curtail cybercrime. We hope to see a reduction in cyber crime rate in the near future.

- Author
Shivam J


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