Biggest Hacking Horror Stories in History

Pretty much every business now knows how important staying safe online and protecting their computers, networks and servers is. Cyber-crime is a constant menace in the modern digital business world and can do lots of damage. It is thought that computer hacking cost UK small businesses an estimated £13.6 billion last year alone! In recent times, there has been a rise in high profile hacking cases that have really caught everyone’s attention. They not only show that even the biggest companies can be hacked but also just what consequences cyber-crime can bring.

Here are 3 of the biggest hacking horror stories around.

Ashley Madison

Many people will remember this case as it only happened a few years ago in 2015. It became a huge global news story as the hackers released a lot of sensitive personal information and also unmasked a lot of cheating spouses! It is thought that 37 million Ashley Madison users were affected and this attack was carried out by a group of hackers called The Impact Team. After breaking into the servers of this site, the group then copied the relevant personal details before beginning to share them around the web.


We all love LinkedIn for the way it allows us to network effectively online and also search for new opportunities. Back in 2016 though, the picture wasn’t quite so rosy! During that year, the company admitted that a slow-motion data breach that had begun in 2012 saw 117 million LinkedIn users have their passwords and logins stolen. This data was then sold on the black market in 2016. This naturally made a huge splash in the media – not only because such a well-known organisation had been hit by data hacking but also because it took them so long to notice it!


Another huge global name we all know and love is eBay. Even this hugely successful company was not immune to the dangers of PC hacking though as it found out in 2014. This breach affected around 145 million users of the site and was played out in the full glare of the public. It saw hackers steal the password-protected data of these eBay customers and caused a real stir. It was not only the hacking itself which got people talking but also eBay’s less-than-robust response to it at the beginning.

How do you avoid it

Avoiding spyware is relatively easy provided you’re conscientious about your browsing habits. If you don’t have an antivirus program installed on your computer, it’s time to remedy that – even if it’s just Windows Defender. It can help alert you to the presence of spyware, then take appropriate action to remove it.

Then you need to remember to always think twice when you’re browsing the internet. Only visit trusted websites – they should have ‘https’ in the web address, rather than just ‘http’. If you download something, make sure it’s coming from a trusted source and you know exactly what it is that you’re downloading.

Another tip is to avoid using the computer as an administrator unless you have to. If spyware gets downloaded into an account with admin privileges, it can then make system-wide changes from that account. If it’s not an admin account, the spyware will at least be contained to that account until it can be dealt with.

The most important advice

When it comes to spyware, and avoiding it, the most important thing you can do is to browse cautiously. If you’re sensible when browsing, spyware should never be an issue.