Attacks/Breaches
12/28/2016
09:00 AM
Kelly Sheridan
Kelly Sheridan
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21 Biggest Cybercriminal Busts Of 2016

This year has been a tornado of major cyberattacks and hacker arrests. Here, we look back on the 21 most interesting 'cyberbusts' of 2016.
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(Image: Jes2u.photo via Shutterstock)

(Image: Jes2u.photo via Shutterstock)

This year has been a major wake-up call to security pros as cyberattacks grew larger and more dangerous. Now, hackers are learning their actions come with hefty consequences. Cybercriminals are starting to spend more time in the courtroom -- and behind bars -- as law enforcement cracks down on crime.

Officials recently arrested five more people in connection with the Avalanche botnet, which came crashing down in an international takedown operation. Since 2009, Avalanche had been used for money muling schemes, malware spread, and communication among botnets. In early December, the botnet met its end in the "largest-ever use of sinkholing to combat botnet infrastructures," as stated by Europol. Officials arrested five people, and seized, sinkholed, or blocked 800,000 domains, as part of the takedown.

The Avalanche botnet crash was among the largest security events of 2016, a year of news stories on major cyberattacks and the arrests of individuals and groups behind them. Many hackers were arrested and/or sentenced for crimes conducted in 2016 and years prior.

We're hoping for some more positive headlines in 2017. In the meantime, we take a look back on some of the biggest and most interesting security busts of this year.

 

Kelly is an associate editor for InformationWeek. She most recently reported on financial tech for Insurance & Technology, before which she was a staff writer for InformationWeek and InformationWeek Education. When she's not catching up on the latest in tech, Kelly enjoys ... View Full Bio

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Christian Bryant
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Christian Bryant,
User Rank: Ninja
1/1/2017 | 8:22:29 PM
Trends in Cybercrime Convictions
I feel we are still on the road to collecting data that will aid in trending cybercrime convinctions.  While I don't condone hacks that are "well-intentioned" yet still put innocent people at risk, I am also bothered that we are far from establishing a legal trend to prevent "good" people from being treated the same as, for instance, cyber-terrorists.  We have a lot of issues in this country and hacktivism is sometimes the only avenue toward revealing these issues.  While our social historians and anthropologists read and reflect, real people with real problems continue to suffer and the public is often without knowledge of this until a hacktivist acts. 

We need more data like this, more well-documented cases and more conversation on what appropriate laws and punishment are needed to keep the right people in prison and to help activists feel no fear in their attempt to make life better for innocent and needy people; keeping activits from turning into hacktivists is something we should all make a priority, eliminating fear from the equation that contains people and communities under duress and the good people who wish to tell that story and help them.

R.I.P. Aaron Swartz
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