While hacking was often portrayed as a highly specialized type of work that required hugely sophisticated equipment in movies and television shows, the truth is that most hacks are often deceptively simple. What the entertainment industry did get right though is that such hacks are able to cause widespread damage to millions of people, just not in the same way that they typically showed that involved explosions and the shutting down of important computer systems. More likely in large-scale attacks are a big loss of private data such as credit card details for customers and users of a particular service.
Jonathan James gained notoriety in 1999 when he became the first person to hack into NASA’s computer system and gain access to information such as the code for the life support system on the International Space Station. What made the hack even more remarkable was the fact that James was just 15-year-old, raising questions about the security employed by government agencies.
The Adobe hack that took place in 2013 was one of the biggest of all time in terms of data stolen, though most of it was not sensitive. Account information of around 150 million people was accessed, including usernames and passwords as well as 2.9 million credit card details. The hack was so big that Abode offered credit monitoring to all of those who had been affected.