5 computer security breaches that have made the world tremble

Security breaches, computer attacks and data theft are the order of the day. Despite companies devoting more and more resources to improving the security of their computer systems, over the last few years we have witnessed some of the most serious attacks and security breaches in history. Do you want to remember some of the most popular?


One of the most serious attacks in history was popularly known as WannaCry, a ransomware that managed to spread very quickly affecting several hundred thousand computer equipment around the world. WannaCry was in charge of encrypting the infected computers (preventing access to their contents) and asking for a ransom to unlock the data. In Spain, it affected companies such as Telefónica, as well as many other companies and institutions worldwide. In the UK it caused havoc in hospitals and health centers , as the NHS (the country’s national service) was also affected by the attack.


In mid-2018, a security breach on the Telefónica website exposed the personal data of millions of customers of the company. Among the data exposed were the names, telephone numbers, email addresses and addresses of the clients. Specifically, the error allowed any client of the company to access the data of other users by modifying part of the URL of the web. In this way, it was possible to randomly access the invoices of other customers. Telefónica solved the bug quickly and confirmed that the number of customers whose data had been consulted by third parties was less than one hundred people.


The social network was affected in 2018 by an attack that exposed the private data of around 50 million users. Apparently, the attackers took advantage of a flaw in the “See how” function (a feature that allowed us to check how other users see our own profile) and through an exploit they gained access to user accounts. Among the affected accounts were the profiles of Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg.

In 2019, the company returned to make headlines when it was discovered that millions of Instagram passwords had been exposed . Apparently a percentage of the passwords were being stored in plain text, so anyone with access to the company’s systems could check them. Even so, from Facebook they confirmed that the passwords had not been seen by anyone who did not belong to the company.


In 2017, Equifax announced the theft of the personal data of more than 140 million Americans due to a serious vulnerability in their computer systems. The company discovered the security breach quite late and claimed that it likely would have occurred several months ago. The attackers collected a multitude of personal data: full names, social security numbers, credit cards, addresses and even driving licenses.


One of the The most notorious attacks in the last decade was the one suffered in 2011 by the PlayStation Network, Sony’s platform. What was most surprising about this case was the magnitude of the leak, since the attackers had access to the data of 77 million users of the service. Specifically, the company reported that the attackers would have had access to email addresses, bank details, purchase histories and security questions. The company was forced to to stop their services for days until the problem is solved.

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