Ask any computer crime attorney or cybersecurity expert, and they’ll tell you that there are serious dangers lurking out there on the net. Criminals across the globe are always looking for ways to instigate that next big incident, and these following examples illustrate just how devastating the ripple effects can be when they succeed.

The Baltimore County Schools Ransomware Attack

Back in November of 2020, Baltimore county school records were hit hard in a cyber attack that affected student transcripts, ID numbers, state test scores, and more. 

Many of these records were completely destroyed or corrupted beyond repair, and the school system had to put a pause on remote learning classes for over 100,000 students. 

The school district’s reticence to share details about the exact nature of the attack means that little else is known beyond the fact that anonymous hackers hit the school system with some kind of ransomware and that the recovery efforts will take some time to complete.

The SolarWinds Hack

SolarWinds provides various IT management services to a wide range of big organizations. In late 2020 it was discovered that hackers managed to infect their servers, gaining the ability to inject malicious code into their software updates and then spread those to clients.

This left big names vulnerable to external data modifications, data theft, and unauthorized remote access to internal devices and software. Organizations affected included the Pentagon, Department of State, Homeland Security, Department of Energy, and even the Treasury. The extent of the damage could make this one of 2020s most severe breaches overall.

The Advantech Ransom

Holding data hostage is a common tactic for cyber criminals, and this is exactly what happened when hackers breached the systems of IOT manufacturer Advantech in November of 2020. 

The hackers demanded quite the sum, 750 Bitcoin (equivalent to more than $14 million), and claimed that the amount of data they stole from Advantech was well beyond the snippets they had leaked on their site. No word on whether or not that ransom was paid.

The Marriott International Breach

If it feels like Marriott’s name and cybersecurity breaches are starting to become a common occurrence, that’s because the 2020 infiltration of their data stores was the second in just as many years. Cyber bandits made off with the information on some 5.2 million guests, though the hotel chain says that it was nothing as payment info or personal IDs. 

Instead, Marriott claims, the thieves were only able to get away with contact details and some customer loyalty account information. No passwords, PINs, or extremely sensitive details were stolen, if the hotel’s management is to be believed.