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The talk of a cyberattack seems to be becoming a highly prevalent topic globally – even more than no deposit bonus casino Australia 2021. And it is no news that the cyber world has had its fair share of smaller and significant attacks over the years. This series of continuous cyberattacks mainly come from alleged government agencies trying to steal classified information or a clandestine group of hackers looking for “fun.” Nevertheless, in the series of the “largest” cyberattacks recorded in history, one notable mention would be the Michael Calce case. However, in this post, you will see a detailed list of the five largest cyberattacks in history. 

Mafiaboy (2000)

It was the year 2000 in February, and the cyber world wasn’t expecting what Michael Calce, the “Mafiaboy,” was going to do. In 2000, Mafiaboy Michael Calce was only 15 years old but was already a mastermind cyberspace hacker. On the 7th of February, 2000, Mafiaboy released a DDoS (Distributed denial-of-service) on several high-profile Web commerce sites. The affected websites targeted by young Michael Calce were CNN, eBay, Yahoo and Amazon. Moreover, there was an attack on Dell, but it failed. According to an expert industry report, the DDoS attacks on these commerce sites resulted in $1.2 billion damage bills.

According to 15 years old Michael Calce, he referred to his targeted cyberattack as “Rivolta,” which is Italian for rebellion. After Mafiaboy got caught, he stated that his actions were to establish dominance for his TNT cybergroup and himself in the cyber world. However, according to a 2011 interview, Michael Calce said the attack exceeded his initial agenda; he only inputted several famous Web addresses into his security tool and left for school. Upon returning home, he meets a crashed computer and news of affected companies, and they knew he was responsible. Nevertheless, as a juvenile, Mafiaboy got sentenced to eight months in open custody – restricting his online access.

The NASA Cyberattack (1999)

It’s 1999, and the first-ever juvenile-caused cyberattack was about to take place. This time, 15 years old Jonathan James is responsible for committing one of the largest cyberattacks that would later earn him a seat on the hacker’s hall of fame. Teen hacker Jonathan James found a way to penetrate the US Department of Defense division’s computers and managed to install a “backdoor” into its servers. Performing such high-quality hacking gave 15 years old Jonathan James a way to intercept thousands of Internet mails of several government organisations having passwords and usernames for different military computers.

With all the information acquired by Jonathan James, he was able to steal some parts of NASA’s software, costing the space exploration agency about $41,000. Jonathan James’s actions caused a total system shutdown for about twenty-one days (three weeks). And according to NASA’s information on the case, the affected software supported the International Space Station’s environment (humidity and temperature included), with a total worth of $1.7 million. For being a juvenile (barely under the online casino Australia legal age) and the first, he got light sentencing of house arrest for seven months. 

The Destructive Melissa Virus (1999)

On the 26th of March, 1999, one of the largest mass-mailing macro viruses got release affecting Microsoft Word and all Outlook-based programs, creating severe network traffic. As simple as the Melissa Virus was, it reportedly caused many damages by infecting Microsoft Word documents. The creator of the Melissa Virus, David Lee Smith, designed this destructive menace by sending several users a file that requires them to open it using Microsoft Word. However, Microsoft got affected by David Lee Smith’s Melissa Virus, other companies had their fair share, but it got the largest hit. Reports from Microsoft states that the Melissa Virus attack reportedly caused them about $80 million.

As earlier stated, the operation of the Melissa Virus was pretty simple. It would infect different computers via email with the title being “Important Message From, (then the current username).” Once the targeted individual opens the message, the body of this Melissa Virus read, “Here’s the document you asked for. Do not show anyone else.” This deadly but straightforward approach placed several users and their privacy in harm’s way. 

The Virus would mass mail itself amongst the first fifty people on the user’s contact list while disabling various safeguard features on Microsoft Word and Outlook. Nevertheless, on the 1st of April 1999, David Smith got caught and received the sentencing of twenty months.

Estonia Cyberattack (2007)

In April 2007, Estonia’s largest and most dangerous cyberattack began within the country, which would affect several critical areas of the nation. On the 27th of April, 2007 series of cyberattacks began in Estonia, which targeted the websites of different organisations (approximately 58), including Estonian Parliament, ministries, broadcasters, newspapers, and banks. And this attack happened just amid the country’s disagreement about the relocation of Tallinn’s Bronze Soldiers with Russia. The series of attacks on Estonia cyberspace was due to DDoS (Distributed denial-of-service) type attacks, ranging from expensive rentals of botnets to single individuals using methods like Ping Floods.

However, Russian State Duma Sergei Markov revealed during a panel discussion about cyberattacks disclosed that his aide (unnamed) was responsible for the attacks. Additionally, Sergei Markov stated that his aide acted on his own in the unrecognised Soviet Union Republic. The result of the attack on the Estonian government and agency lead to the creation of NATO. The Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence lies in Tallinn, Estonia.

Morris Worm and Robert Tappan (1988)

Robert Tappan Morris is the creator of the first-ever computer transmitted worm via the Internet in 1988. Robert Tappan Morris was a student of Cornell University in the USA, and his claims about the worm were to discover the vastness of cyberspace rather than cause harm. Unfortunately, the Morris Worm became a menace after encountering a critical error that caused it to morph into a virus. Soon after, the worm began replicating rapidly and infected several computers, which resulted in denial of service. The damage affected about 6,000 computers resulting in about $10-100 million dollars cost for repairs.

Honourable Mentions

The list of large-scale cyberattacks can go on for a while. However, we need to cut it short by highlighting the top five of this post. The security of cyberattacks usually gets picked by damage and level of threat it posed. For that reason, the sorting of the above-listed attacks was by damages, cost, and popularity. Nevertheless, let’s see some other large cyberattacks that are worth mentioning – in no particular order.

  1. Google China Hit (2009)
  2. Solar Sunrise (1998)
  3. Internet Attack (2002)


Since the introduction of the Internet and cyberspace, you would agree that several threats have occurred to its security. These security threats and breaches range from government infiltration to individual account damages. However, some of these reported cases were not intentional; you can refer to them as “cases that got out of hand.” Regardless, it was deadly, destructive, and an unnecessary risk to individual information at the moment of their attacks. So, if you are an upcoming programmer or tech guru, this post has highlighted the top five largest cyberattacks in history. In addition, it gave three other notable cyberattacks that are worth mentioning.

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