Top data breaches and cyber attacks of 2022

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Regrettably, cyberattacks and breaches are big business – bad actors with an endless stream of nefarious motives populate the internet, ready to pounce on insecure data and immature security practices.

There’s no shortage of attacks and breaches, and that can make it hard to manage if you like to keep up with the latest security news.

Happily, we’ve done the hard work to round up ten of 2022’s top breaches and cyberattacks so far. They’re not in any particular order, but you should read on if you want to find out how significant an attack can be – and if you want to learn how to avoid the same issues.

There’s plenty of business security advice elsewhere on the site, including our explainer on the differences between endpoint protection and antivirus software and a guide on picking the best antivirus product for your business.

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Cryptocurrencies

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Crypto.com

Cryptocurrency is big business, so it’s no wonder that Crypto.com was subjected to a serious breach at the start of 2022. The attack took place on January 17th, and targeted nearly 500 people’s cryptocurrency wallets.

Despite the blockchain being a relatively secure transaction method, the thieves used a pretty simple method to get the job done: they circumvented the site’s two-factor authentication (2FA). They stole $18 million of Bitcoin and $15 million of Ethereum.

Initially, Crypto.com described the hack as a mere “incident” and denied any theft, but clarified the situation a few days later and reimbursed the affected users.  

Microsoft

Computing giant Microsoft is no stranger to cyberattacks, and on March 20th 2022 the firm was targeted by a hacking collective called Lapsus$. The group posted a screenshot on Telegram to indicate that they’d managed to hack Microsoft and, in the process, they’d compromised Cortana, Bing, and several other products.

The hackers made off with some material from Microsoft, too, but by March 22nd Microsoft announced that they’d shut down the hacking attempt promptly and that only one account was compromised.

Microsoft said that no customer data had been stolen, and Microsoft undoubtedly benefitted from its effective security team – the Lapsus$ group has previously targeted Nvidia, Samsung and plenty of other companies, and the politically-motivated group was already on Microsoft’s radar.

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News Corp

News Corp is one of the biggest news organizations in the world, so it’s no surprise that hackers are eager to breach its security – and in February 2022, News Corp admitted server breaches way back in February 2020.

News Corp quickly asserted that no customer data was stolen during the breach, and that the company’s everyday work wasn’t hindered.

Instead, News Corp uncovered evidence that emails were stolen from its journalists. The thieves have not been identified, but News Corp has mooted that espionage is at the root of this attack – no surprise when News Corp servers hold loads of sensitive information.

Red Cross

You wouldn’t think anyone would want to attack the Red Cross, but that’s what happened in January 2022. An attack on a third-party contractor saw more than half a million records compromised – including documents that the Red Cross classed as “highly vulnerable”.

Ultimately, thousands of people had their sensitive data stolen, and most of the victims are currently listed as missing or vulnerable. The Red Cross took servers offline to stop the attack and investigate this seemingly political breach, but no culprit has been identified.

Blockchain

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Ronin

Ronin is a blockchain gaming platform that relies on cryptocurrency, so it’s bound to be targeted by forward-thinking criminals – and that’s exactly what happened between November 2021 and March 2022.

Ronin’s Axie Infinity game enables players to earn digital currency and NFTs, and its increasing popularity saw the firm dial back security protocols so its servers could handle a growing audience.

That helped Axie Infinity deal with the number of people who wanted to play, but it also let criminals in – and they stole $600 million of cryptocurrencies. Ronin’s parent company is working with authorities to identify the culprits and recover funds, but it’s a lesson that any business can learn: never compromise your security standards.

FlexBooker

At the end of 2021 and the start of 2022, appointment management business FlexBooker was hit by a vast attack that affected around three million of its users.

Confidential data including ID information, drivers’ licenses and passwords was stolen by the hackers and then offered for sale on popular hacking message boards, and many powerful users have left FlexBooker because of the breach.

A hacking group called Uawrongteam was responsible for the hack, and it wasn’t a particularly sophisticated affair – the group cracked FlexBooker’s AWS servers and installed malware to control the firm’s systems.

Trucks

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GiveSendGo

Plenty of hacks are motivated by politics rather than pure financial gain, and that’s certainly true of GiveSendGo’s breach in February 2022.

GiveSendGo is a Christian fundraising site favored by Canadian truckers who drove across the country to protest against COVID rules.

Political hackers stole and then published the information of 90,000 people who had donated money to the protestors and then redirected the fundraising page to another site that criticized the truckers – a classic DDoS attack. Some data was also sent to a group that publishes leaked data that usually comes from far-right groups.

It’s a clear lesson that companies need top-notch security to ward off political attacks – because not all breaches are driven by financial gain.

Cash App

Block (formerly Twitter) owns this popular mobile payment tool, and in April 2022 the firm acknowledged that a former employee had breached the service’s servers.

The culprit clearly had a significant axe to grind with the business. The hack involved customer names, stock trading information, account numbers and portfolio values alongside loads of other sensitive financial information.

Block hasn’t yet said how many people were affected by the breach, but the firm has contacted more than 8 million customers to tell them about the incident. Luckily, no account credentials were stolen in the attack, and the hacker only stole a limited amount of identifiable information.

Marquard & Bahls

You’ve probably not heard of this business, but in February 2022 the Germany energy giant was attacked and saw its IT infrastructure destabilized. The result? A closure of more than 200 gas stations across Germany.

Companies like Shell struggled to supply customers with fuel because of the attack, and experts have said that the attack looks like it’s come from the infamous BlackHat gang – a Russian group that has attacked oil pipelines in the past.

With energy volatility an increasingly relevant topic given the climate crisis and the war in Ukraine, expect to see more attacks that hit oil businesses and other energy organizations.

Newspapers

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PressReader

This Vancouver-based company is the world’s largest online distributor of newspapers and magazines. In March 2022 an attack halted its publication of loads of top news titles – from big names like the New York Times to local papers and outlets.

PressReader hasn’t said if any ransomware was involved in the attack, but the attack immediately followed the company’s announcement that it would give users in Ukraine free access – so it could well be a political attack.

PressReader was able to quickly restore its full publishing capability, but the three-day attack stopped people from accessing more than 7,000 news sources.

Mike has worked as a technology journalist for more than a decade and has written for most of the UK’s big technology titles alongside numerous global outlets. He loves PCs, laptops and any new hardware, and covers everything from the latest business trends to high-end gaming gear.