Six High-profile Cybersecurity Attacks

Running a business that relies upon a digital network has its own set of challenges. There is a myriad of database emergencies to be wary of. For example, the onset of software crashes that undermine day-to-day operations. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

On top of ensuring that your digital systems are working as efficiently as needed, you also need to watch out for the possibility of cyber-attacks. Regardless of how much you trust the competence of your cybersecurity provider, the risk remains. If the United States, with its massive security budgets, can fall prey to a malicious cyber-attack, your business is not immune.

It pays to know how these threats are carried out. Here is a list of high-profile cyber attack cases you may consider as cautionary tales.


In October 2013, Adobe reported a security breach that compromised the credit card details of nearly three million users. Further investigation proved that other pertinent account information was stolen, including names, passwords, and IDs.

Adobe users filed an official complaint against the company, found to have violated the Customer Records Act. Although Adobe itself was not directly responsible for the leak, it fell short in protecting its users’ confidentiality. As a result, Adobe had to pay $1.1 million to claimants.

Toll Group

In 2020, within three months, Australian company Toll Group was twice attacked by ransomware. A representative from the company shared that the two cases were not linked to each other. That conclusion is based on the different nature of the two ransomware detected.

To prevent the exacerbation of the attack, Toll Group had to put its systems under a shutdown. That affected the company’s client base that is reliant on Toll’s global logistics network.

Adult Friend Finder

This case happened in October 2016. The cyber-attack compromised 412.2 million accounts. Because of the nature of the site’s services, the information breach was doubly delicate. Friend Finder also runs adult content and casual hookup sites like,, and

Data stolen from the network by cybercriminals include names, passwords, and users’ email addresses from the past 20 years. Those likely involved private and sensitive photos, videos, and conversations.

Marriot International

In 2020, the hotel chain suffered a data breach twice. The attack was traced to the login credentials of two Marriot employees. It compromised the information of 5.2 million guests.

While under investigation, Marriot International tried to downplay the situation by asserting that there’s no reason to believe that the data breach encompassed clients’ personal details from credit cards, passports, national IDs, or driver’s license. The worst-case scenario the company was looking at was the illegal access to details about clients’ loyalty accounts.


Canva is a free design platform with 137 million active users from around the globe. In May 2019, the website suffered a data breach that exposed details of existing accounts, including usernames, names, email addresses, passwords, and cities of residence.

The company promised its users that the cybercriminals responsible for the attack did not get their hands on credit card information. Canva quickly requested users to update their account information upon discovery of the attack.

data server room


In July 2019, the popular social media platform was infiltrated by what can only be called mischievous cyber attackers. They circumvented the site’s cybersecurity via social engineering. They used phone phishing to retrieve pertinent information from Twitter employees. That gained them access to the site’s management system.

In no time, high-profile Twitter handles had been compromised, such as the account of former U.S. President Barack Obama, SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. The cyber attackers posted bitcoin scams using those accounts. The scheme earned them $100,000.

The alleged mastermind of the attack, alongside his two accomplices, was apprehended and arraigned as an adult. He goes by the name Graham Ivan Clark.


In May 2014, the giant online retail chain’s database was compromised for 229 days. The breach gave cybercriminals access to eBay users’ names, birth dates, and addresses. The hackers pulled off the attack by using the credentials of three eBay employees. Customers’ credit card details were not compromised, at least according to eBay.

No business should be complacent when it comes to the possibility of a cyber-attack. In fact, cybersecurity should be on top of managerial priorities. Failure to enact an aggressive prevention strategy against threats from cybercriminals will cost you significant money should you fall victim to their malicious schemes.

Buff up your security system and protocol not later but now. This is an investment worth making.

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“Right now, computers make our lives easier. They do work for us in fractions of a second that would take us hours. […] As things progress, they’ll be doing more and more for us.”
Steve Jobs
co-founder of Apple Inc. and founder of NeXT
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