News Report Technology
December 29, 2023

From Breaches to Exploits: The Top 5 Cybersecurity Incidents of 2023

In Brief

As technology advances, so do the tactics employed by malicious actors seeking to exploit vulnerabilities for various motives.

From Breaches to Exploits: The Top 5 Cybersecurity Incidents of 2023

In the realm of cybersecurity, 2023 witnessed a surge in sophisticated and impactful cyberattacks, leaving organizations and individuals grappling with the consequences of relentless digital threats. As technology advances, so do the tactics employed by malicious actors seeking to exploit vulnerabilities for various motives.

From crippling ransomware assaults to insidious supply chain compromises, the past year has been marked by a series of high-profile incidents that have underscored the critical importance of robust cybersecurity measures.

Microsoft Azure Dodges Major Threat

In a cybersecurity close call, Microsoft Azure narrowly averted a potential catastrophe on January 17, 2023, when four critical vulnerabilities in its services were exposed to server-side request forgery (SSRF) attacks. Azure’s vital components, including Azure API Management, Azure Functions, Azure Machine Learning and Azure Digital Twins, were all found susceptible to exploitation.

The severity of these SSRF vulnerabilities, as highlighted by Orca researcher Lidor Ben Shitrit, underscored the looming danger had they gone unaddressed. However, credit is due to Microsoft’s rapid response, swiftly neutralizing the threats and preventing any substantial damage before the vulnerabilities could be exploited. This incident serves as a stark reminder of the constant vigilance required in the face of evolving cyber threats.

Dark Web Sale Exposes Massive Twitter Data Breach

On December 4, 2023, a threat actor auctioned off a trove of personal data from 200 million Twitter profiles on a notorious hacking forum. The illicit trade began on July 22, with an initial batch of 5.4 million profiles priced at $30,000. Subsequently, a second data file containing information on 17 million users circulated privately in November.

This widespread compromise of Twitter profiles, including private phone numbers, email addresses, usernames, and more, unfolded on online hacker forums since July 22, 2022. Exploiting a Twitter API flaw that allowed the verification of user connections using email addresses and phone numbers, threat actors created these unauthorized data collections in 2021, raising serious concerns about digital security and user privacy.

ICMR Covid-testing Database Compromised

In a shocking cyber assault on October 9, 2023, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) fell victim to a massive breach, divulging the personal data of a staggering 815 million Indian residents. The compromised information, sourced from the ICMR’s Covid-testing database, surfaced on the dark web, available for sale earlier this month.

Resecurity, a prominent cybersecurity firm, uncovered the alarming listing, revealing that the exposed data encompassed victims’ critical details such as name, age, gender, address, passport number, and Aadhaar number—a 12-digit government identification code.

AT&T Data Breach

In a March 2023 revelation, telecommunication giant AT&T has informed approximately 9 million customers of a data breach, unveiling the compromise of personal data including names, wireless account numbers, phone numbers, and email addresses. The company, however, assures that more sensitive information such as payment card numbers, Social Security numbers, and passwords remain unaffected.

While AT&T emphasizes that its systems remain uncompromised, it admits a breach stemming from a third-party vendor. The telecom giant refrains from disclosing the vendor’s identity. In a bid to allay concerns, AT&T clarifies that, in only a “small percentage” of cases, certain customer details, albeit several years old, including rate plan names, past due amounts, monthly payment amounts, and other account data, were impacted.

Royal Mail Ransomware Attack

In early January 2023, the postal service found itself ensnared in a ransomware attack orchestrated by an affiliate leveraging LockBit Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS). The epicenter of the breach was a distribution center near Belfast, Northern Ireland, where printers churned out the demands of the ransomware gang.

The gravity of the situation elevated further as the UK government officially designated Royal Mail as part of the nation’s Critical National Infrastructure (CNI). Consequently, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and other UK agencies are poised to play a pivotal role in the investigation and response.

LockBit’s modus operandi involves both encrypting data on target servers and exfiltrating it, providing the attackers with dual extortion leverage.

Disclaimer

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About The Author

Kumar is an experienced Tech Journalist with a specialization in the dynamic intersections of AI/ML, marketing technology, and emerging fields such as crypto, blockchain, and NFTs. With over 3 years of experience in the industry, Kumar has established a proven track record in crafting compelling narratives, conducting insightful interviews, and delivering comprehensive insights. Kumar's expertise lies in producing high-impact content, including articles, reports, and research publications for prominent industry platforms. With a unique skill set that combines technical knowledge and storytelling, Kumar excels at communicating complex technological concepts to diverse audiences in a clear and engaging manner.

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Kumar Gandharv
Kumar Gandharv

Kumar is an experienced Tech Journalist with a specialization in the dynamic intersections of AI/ML, marketing technology, and emerging fields such as crypto, blockchain, and NFTs. With over 3 years of experience in the industry, Kumar has established a proven track record in crafting compelling narratives, conducting insightful interviews, and delivering comprehensive insights. Kumar's expertise lies in producing high-impact content, including articles, reports, and research publications for prominent industry platforms. With a unique skill set that combines technical knowledge and storytelling, Kumar excels at communicating complex technological concepts to diverse audiences in a clear and engaging manner.

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