The Impact of the 5 Top Security Incidents of 2011

As cybersecurity becomes even more pressing to businesses of all sizes and industries, security experts continue to examine the responses of several large companies over the past year that have fallen victim to cyber attack — some successful, some not! Below are the top 5 security incidents of 2011, according to, and their effect upon the online community:

1. Sony: April 2011 saw the Sony Website being breached by hackers and user data being stolen. After this event, the Sony network was down for over a month, as computer engineers rebuilt a new network. The overall effect of the Sony debacle was decreased customer trust, as customers were mostly left in the dark about what was going on during the entire attack and recovery process. Sony also disseminated misinformation and tried to shift blame from its own lack of preparedness. Sony’s response to the cyber attacks showed companies what not to do in a similar situation.

2. Microsoft: In a partnership with federal law enforcement, Microsoft helped take down the malware ring called Rustock. Though its seizer of C&C nodes raised a ton of issues about privacy, Microsoft’s actions showed the importance of sending a clear message to those practicing illegal activity online.

3. Anonymous/Lulzsec: 2011 was the year of Hacktivism, as the Internet hacker groups Anonymous and Lulzsec attacked both government and corporation Websites to get their message across. And while their message was not always very clear, they did prove that they could pursue their agenda, bereft of money, and get their point across.

4. Mobile Threats: With the increasing numbers of smartphones and mobile devices in 2011, security concerns associated with those devices continue to increase. Mobile device owners need to be more careful than ever with their private information. Luckily, companies will be catering more to just such security issues during 2012.

5. Stuxnet: During a 10-month period in 2011, facilities suspected of enriching weapons-grade uranium were damaged by the Stuxnet worm. While initially it was thought that the virus had originated in the U.S. or Israel, the true perpetrator may never be known, as no one has stepped forward. One thing is clear; the battle lines have been drawn, not on a physical battlefield, but in cyber space.

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