2015 was a year marked by a number of high-profile cyber attacks and data breaches. These incidents highlighted the growing threat of cybercrime and the importance of cybersecurity for businesses and individuals alike.
One of the most notable events of the year was the data breach at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which exposed the personal information of over 21 million government employees and contractors. The attack, which was later attributed to the Chinese government, was considered one of the largest and most damaging breaches in U.S. history. It resulted in significant criticism of the OPM's cybersecurity practices and led to the resignation of the agency's director.
Another major incident was the hack of Ashley Madison, a dating website for people looking to have affairs. The hackers, who called themselves the "Impact Team," obtained and released sensitive information of millions of users, causing embarrassment and legal trouble for many. This attack demonstrated the potential consequences of a data breach, not only for the company but also for the individuals affected.
2015 also saw a significant increase in ransomware attacks. Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts a victim's files and demands payment in exchange for the decryption key. These attacks became more sophisticated and targeted, as attackers began to focus on specific industries such as healthcare and education.
In response to these threats, businesses and organizations increased their spending on cybersecurity. According to a report by Gartner, global spending on information security was projected to reach $75.4 billion in 2015, an increase of 8.2% from the previous year. This included investments in security software, services, and personnel. Additionally, governments around the world began to take a more active role in cybersecurity, with the United States, for example, releasing a Cybersecurity National Action Plan in 2015 to better protect against cyber threats.
However, despite these efforts, the threat of cyber attacks continued to grow in 2015. According to a report by Symantec, the number of new malware variants increased by 15% over the course of the year, and the number of mobile malware variants increased by 60%. Additionally, the number of data breaches rose to an all-time high, with over 1,500 reported breaches resulting in the exposure of over one billion records.
Additionally, the year saw the emergence of state-sponsored hacking. In 2015, it was revealed that Russian hackers had breached the networks of the U.S. Democratic National Committee and released emails to damage the campaign of Hilary Clinton. This event demonstrated the potential for nation-states to use cyber attacks as a tool of political influence.
In conclusion, 2015 was a year marked by a number of high-profile cyber attacks and data breaches. These incidents highlighted the growing threat of cybercrime and the importance of cybersecurity for businesses and individuals alike. Despite increased spending on cybersecurity and efforts by governments around the world, the threat of cyber attacks continued to grow in 2015. The year also saw the emergence of state-sponsored hacking, highlighting the need for better international cooperation in addressing cyber threats. Overall, 2015 demonstrated that cybersecurity is an ongoing challenge that requires constant vigilance and investment.