The five biggest hacks of all time

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The five biggest hacks of all time
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Forget DDoS and Twitter hijackings, here are five hacks that changed the world

Hacking and hackers are the stuff of mythology, film, and often breathless headlines. From the attacks that brought down Mastercard and Visa's websites in 2010 to the Xbox Live and PlayStation outages of Christmas 2014, it sometimes feels like our systems are under permanent assault from those who would take them offline.

And yet, none of these are true hacks - most simply involve overloading websites with requests until they cease to function.

Hacking, as first demonstrated in 1903 by magician John Nevil Maskelyne when he hijacked a public demonstration of Marconi's telegraph, involves gaining unauthorised access to a computer or IT system and requires some skill.

While small-scale attacks, malware and botnets still do the rounds, large-scale disruptive hacks are rare. When they do happen, though, they can be spectacular.

Here we clear out the DDoS dross and minor acts of cyberhooliganism to bring you the five biggest hacks of all time.

The five biggest hacks of all time:

1. The virus that destroyed nuclear equipment

2. The bedroom hacker who made an entire US armoury disappear

3. The first cyber war

4. Bitcoin's Black Monday

5. LulzSec costs Sony $171 million

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