The world of hacking is organizing, maturing, and wreaking havoc on businesses and governments around the world. Adding insult to injury, the hackers are distributing press releases about their conquests.
It’s clear that if there’s even a slight crack in a company’s Internet security, hackers will find their way in and expose customer information for all to see. It’s turning 2011 into a full-blown hackfest.
Hacker group LulzSec went on a 50-day hack-a-thon, peeling open Sony PlayStation’s customer account information and taking down the CIA’s site. These hackers boast of their conquests on their Twitter account. They have a website featuring the “Love Boat” theme as background music, and they distribute press statements about their conquests.
“For the past 50 days we’ve been disrupting and exposing corporations, governments, often the general population itself, and quite possibly everything in between, just because we could,” LulzSec says in its latest release.
Some recent high-profile hacks, some of which were attributed to LulzSec and its hack partners:
• Fox News’ Twitter account was taken over on July 4 and rogue tweets were sent stating that President Obama had been assassinated. A total of six tweets were sent from the @FoxNewsPolitics account to its more than 34,000 followers. It took the news agency nearly 10 hours to delete the fake posts.
• Sony’s networks have been attacked repeatedly over the last several months. Most notable was an attack on Sony PlayStation’s online store shut down the portal for a month and exposed millions of user accounts.
• PBS’s servers were hacked following the airing of a “Frontline” story on WikiSecrets. The hackers published internal login information and posted fake news on PBS.org sites. “Frontline” executive producer David Fanning called the hackers’ attack “irresponsible and chilling.”
• Citigroup in June sent 100,000 replacement cards to customers after a cyber attack. The cyber intruders were able to access information including holders’ names, account numbers, and email addresses.
Clearly, hackers are evolving, says Hemu Nigam, an online security expert whose résumé includes work at NewsCorp and Microsoft. Nigam breaks the hackers into four groups, mobsters, taunters, activists, and anarchists.
Making matters worse, there’s apparently an underground feud going on among hacking groups, The New York Times reported this week. These groups are involved in a game of one-upmanship, making just about any website vulnerable to attack.
“As they declare war on each other, the good citizens of the world, like you and I, can find ourselves in a heap of collateral damage,” said Nigam on Huffington Post.