You Thought BOV’s Cyberattack Was Bad? This Is What Hackers Are Truly Capable Of

In the grand scheme of things, the situation could have been so much worse...

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BOV's recent cyber attack has had a huge impact on the general view of cyber crime as a whole as far as the local scene is concerned. €13 million was supposedly swindled, which may seem like a vast amount at first, but in the grand scheme of things, the situation could have been so much worse.

I'll outline five examples to show exactly what's possible, three of which have actually taken place:

Bank of Bangladesh

Hackers attempted to steal $951M from the Bank of Bangladesh in 2016. The bank affected all 35 of these transfers, however when the transfers reached the intermediary bank, the process was halted after the bank realised that some of these transactions seemed to be illegitimate. By this time, $81M had been successfully transferred. Let that sink in....

Pewdiepie vs T-Series

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If you don't know what this is, you've probably not spent enough time on the Internet. Pewdiepie has been the worlds largest YouTuber for some time, while T-series (an Indian music channel) comes in second, tailing close behind. There's a movement going around the Internet to promote Pewdiepie in an attempt to help retain his position, which has been taken up by countless individuals.

A hacker exploited a printer vulnerability affecting 50,000 printers to effectively print out an advert aimed at pushing individuals to subscribe to Pewdiepie's channel. He still retains a slight lead :)

The Marriott Hotel

The Marriott Entrance

500 million customer account details were compromised. We're talking passports, credit cards, addresses and every bit of personal information which you can imagine. Besides the fact that this insane amount of data was leaked, it's not the most jaw dropping fact related to this hack. It took the Marriott four years to figure out that they were leaking data faster than the Titanic's hull on its maiden voyage. If it took a goliath like the Marriott four years to realize they were being hacked, can you imagine how less equipped organizations handle similar situations?

What's possible:

Traffic lights


Anything connected to the internet is hackable, don't let anyone convince you otherwise. I'm not a huge fan of action movies but there was a scene from Die Hard that I remember quite clearly. One of the protagonists hacked into the street light system and utter chaos ensued. Imagine being in control of that much power and how much harm one could cause with dark intentions. Sounds far-fetched, right? Well, it’s absolutely plausible and all it takes it $100 of hardware & a little expertise.

Power Stations


The function of a nuclear reactor is based around maintaining an appropriate core temperature. The destabilization of this core temperature for a long enough time will lead to complete nuclear meltdown. Luckily we've not got any nuclear plants in Malta, however with the rise of automation we've become more reliant on IT and networks. As a hacker, all you'd need to do is increase the power output of a generator to 100% for long enough and wait for an explosion. The country would come to a grinding halt, countless of people dependent on power such as dialysis patients would perish, and the country would be crippled for some time.


Photo: Tamsin Pace Decesare

Jean-Michel Azzopardi is the CEO of Kralanx, a cybersecurity firm which aims at addressing the problem of hackers across all different industries. They utilise an AI + a team of 1,000 cyber warriors who work 24x7 to actively hunt threats within a customers environment. They aim to stop hacks in real time, vastly mitigating the potential damage that a hack can cause.

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