Hacker Attacks Continue to Rise

by Jordan Richardson on July 5, 2011

The rising tide of hacker attacks has been hard to fend off or ignore, with creative, annoying little groups of hackers coming up with all sorts of schemes to cause trouble on a massive scale. These basement-dwelling mental cases have been particularly active as of late, stirring up trouble with Sony, PBS, government agencies, and any other site or service they can crack.

We’ve talked about LulzSec extensively, but they seem to have “retired.” Anonymous is still running as a monolithic squad. On July 4, LulzSec and Anonymous released a short list of names and passwords allegedly nabbed from an Apple Inc. server. Apparently the information was taken from another hacker. Apple has yet to confirm or verify the breach, but the data doesn’t appear to have much “value” as it doesn’t contain consumer information useful to reclusive crooks.

Also on July 4, a hacker seized control of one of Fox News’ Twitter accounts and created a series of posts reporting that President Barack Obama had been shot. The tweets were re-tweeted around for a while, but a lack of corroborating reporting meant that things got snuffed out quite quickly. Fox has since apologized for the tweets.

The damage, at least to the extent we know it so far, appears to be largely related to reputation. In the case of the Sony, PBS, Apple, and Fox hacks, at least, the harm done is, for now, analogous to egg on the face. The companies involved have had to extensively apologize for the “gaffes.” There have been fiscal consequences to the repairing of reputations, too, and that has companies spending millions to get things back online.

It could be said, and indeed it has been argued, that the hacker groups have done consumers a favour by exposing them to the reality that their information isn’t overly safe online. Morally, that’s a little like congratulating a bank robber for exposing problems with a bank vault.

Because so many companies have such an extensive Internet presence, acquiring sensitive data becomes easier. Gone are the days of one official website and a database that was protected in-house from attacks. Today, major corporations are storing gallons of information “in the cloud” and hackers have found a way in with relative ease.

This means that the volume of hacker attacks is undoubtedly not going to decrease any time soon. As soon as “locks” are discovered, hacker groups crack the code and all bets are off. And as companies put even more information online in less-than-secure conditions, the brutality and import of hacker attacks will increase.

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Written by: Jordan Richardson. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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