The Top 8 Weirdest Hacks of All Time
If you’ve been anywhere on the Internet recently, you’ve probably heard of a VPN by now. Maybe you’ve been bombarded with ads from Malwarebytes or Norton encouraging you to beef up your cyber security.
This isn’t just to keep pesky viruses out from shady sites or spam emails, but there has actually been a rising wave of far more serious cyber crime like identity and credit card theft.
This article won’t be going into the horrors of hacks though. Instead, we’ll be taking a look at the 8 weirdest hacks of All time. Let’s dive in.
1. Fish-Tank Intrusion
When you think of a fish tank, you might think of Goldfish, maybe some Koi fish if you’re fancy. If you’re especially risque you might have a Siamese fighter fish on display regularly.
With every home -even the ones for fish- you need decoration. In the case of many fish tank decorations nowadays they tend to be technological. It of course adds to the aesthetic value of a fish tank.
LEDs, automated aeration systems
and even systems to monitor temperature, oxygen, nitrogen and pH levels. Heck- you can even automate the feeding of your fish to minimize your workload and ensure your aquatic brethren are always properly cared for.
NOT ONCE have I ever even come close to guessing that I could be hacked through a fish tank.
The same can be said for one very unlucky casino who fell victim to a hack through their fish tank which was equipped with sensors that connected to the internet and a PC on-site that monitored and regulated all things fish. The hack was uncovered by a Cybersecurity firm named Darktrace.
Now, you might be wondering what the big deal is with a hack into a fish tank. But you’d be surprised how efficiently hackers can move from one vulnerability in the network to another. From the seemingly innocuous intrusion into the fish tank, the hackers were eventually able to make their way into a database of “high rollers” the casino had on file.
2. Baby Monitor Shenanigans
To most people, a baby monitor is a valuable, safe and effective way to keep tabs on your children when you’re not in the same room as them. You can keep an extra ear out for any cries whether they’re for pain, food or diaper duty. Some parents might even want to listen in on their kids playing just to soak in some of that excess joy we all need.
Rarely do you think a baby monitor could be a safety risk for you and your family. In the absolute worst case, you’re thinking someone can trip on the cord. But one Ohio family was in for a rude awakening when they discovered their camera and internet equipped baby monitor had been hacked.
It was midnight when Adam and Heather Schreck first heard the attacker’s voice screaming “Wake up baby!”. Their terrified daughter complied and woke up screaming. Having rushed into the room Adam and Heather were met with a camera pointing straight at them and the voice of the attacker continuing to scream at their child.
On further investigation it was discovered that the brand of camera used by the Schrecks had a known vulnerability which has since been addressed by the manufacturers. Of course, they’ve since changed all their passwords and beefed up their security- and they’ll probably do that every few months for the rest of their lives.
Talk about weird.
3. Barbara Should have Known better
This one is strange almost for an entirely different reason because the person involved should have definitely known better.
If you’ve ever watched the series Shark Tank, you’re probably familiar with Barbara Corcoran. If you’re not familiar with Barbara, she’s an incredible investor. She founded The Corcoran Group, a real estate investment firm in New York city, which she sold to NRT in 2001 for a WHOPPING $66 million dollars.
Since then she’s continued her exploits and has appeared on all 12 seasons of Shark Tank and has made over 50 deals with contestants. Anyway- back to the hacker.
According to reports the hacker in this case posed as Barbara’s executive assistant and sent an invoice for $388,700.11 to Corcoran’s bookkeeper. Not noticing the fake return email address, the bookkeeper approved the payment and Barbara lost out on a few hundred thousand dollars.
Apparently, the invoice was made for a property renovation which is incredibly common in the usual proceedings in office. Fortunately for her bookkeeper, Barbara is both forgiving and extremely wealthy, so no jobs were lost that day.
4. Not all Hacks are Evil- Operation Cupcake
At this point in the article, you’re probably a little confused as to how I could attempt to justify a hacker. You’re not wrong to think that. So far we’ve seen a lot of money stolen, personal information revealed to hackers with malicious intent and even a baby monitor being hacked.
In 2011, M16 (yes it’s a real organization, not just part of James Bond film plots) managed to dupe Al-qaeda’s attempts to share instructions for Home bomb making in their first english magazine- Inspire.
Within the digital magazine, apparently Al-Qaeda had linked a PDF which contained the instructions, however, when it was downloaded readers would only find a garbled code which led to cupcake recipes from Ellen Degeneres’ “Best Cupcakes in America”. I’d bet money that by Step 3 most had discovered the ruse and were either delighted or dismayed to discover the only explosions they were making, were for tastebuds.
5. Heavy Metal Attack on a Nuclear Facility
Truthfully, I’m not even sure if I should call this one an attack, a prank or- anything other than funny.
Let me explain.
Major government facilities are common targets for cyber attacks. Often- at the hands of other government intelligence agencies. Most of them are rarely noteworthy and since they don’t shut down any major systems or hit the big red button, they are rarely reported.
however was unique- to say the least. Hackers forced workers at two of the Iranian government’s facilities to endure ACDC’s “Thunderstruck” at full volume over the facilities’ PA systems at maximum volume.
I don’t know if you’ve ever heard the PA systems on a plant of one form or another, but they’re usually a lot louder and a lot clearer than the ones in subways or bus terminals. Even the most die-hard ACDC fan would be annoyed by this eventually and the tech personnel certainly weren’t happy about being infiltrated.
6. Prime Minister replaced with Mr. Bean
I’ll admit- I was trying to bait you a bit with that subtitle.
I doubt any hacker would be so skilled that they could legitimately replace an entire prime minister with Mr. Bean somehow. We’d be talking Thanos with the reality stone levels of power for that to happen.
However, in 2010, if you happened to pay a visit to the European Union’s official site for the Spanish prime minister, instead of seeing Jose Luiz Rodriguez Zapatero (try saying that 5 times fast)- you’d have been met with the smiling visage of Mr. Bean.
Whether this was a harmless prank or deliberate political commentary- it goes without saying that EU staff and the prime minister himself were definitely not happy with the comparison.
Apparently it’s been a long-standing joke that Mr. Bean and Prime Minister Zapatero resemble one another.
7. Hacking in 1903
Yes, I’m very well aware of the fact that the internet, let alone complex computers were far away from being invented all the way back in 1903. However, that doesn’t change the fact that a “hack” was in fact carried out.
Guglielmo Marconi can be considered the father of wireless communication. His work led to the creation of the wireless telegraph, which he was in the process of demonstrating to the Royal Academy of Sciences when it began pulsing strongly.
The hijacker thought it would be entertaining to pulse the word “rats” multiple times in morse code multiple times and eventually the limerick:
“There was a young fellow of Italy, who diddled the public quite prettily”
Yeah- that happened.
8. The Great Printer Attack of 2017
This one you may actually have heard of.
Pretty recently in 2017, a hacker using the alias “Stackoverflowin"; decided to alert homeowners and office staff to the potential vulnerabilities in their printers. Shortly before the attack -which affected over 150,000 printers- there was a study conducted in Germany that demonstrated some security flaws in many printers that left them open to attack from the Internet.
It’s presumed, that having seen the study, Stackoverflowin decided to make people aware of their security risk, by creating a script that printed out a specific message when the printers turned on.
You can see the messages below:
That’s it for today folks, hope you had a good laugh or you’re at least considering your fish tank or baby monitor security.