Those of you who have been paying attention to the news lately may have been led to believe that hackers only have it out for Sony. The truth is, those with an Internet connection and a moral ineptitude will target anyone and everyone, and lest we needed to be remind of that, Citigroup says it was hit by hackers who may have swiped credit card information from 200,000 North American accounts.
The notion of having honor among thieves doesn't necessarily extend into the underground hacking community in the U.S., a world the FBI and Secret Service have successfully burrowed into and, in a sense, even maintain at least a modicum of control. A new report suggests that one in four hackers are FBI informers who secretly drop dimes on their peers rather than face what could be stiff penalties for running afoul of cyber laws.
Google on Wednesday issued a warning that hackers based in China weaseled their way into hundreds of Gmail accounts, including those of U.S. government officials, Chinese political activists, officials in several Asian countries (mostly South Korea), military personnel, and journalists, among others. Every indication is that these were targeted attacks and not just random victims.
Holiday weekends are dangerous. Even if we took nothing else away from the movie "Independence Day," we got that. But hey, we're human. All those peaceful weekends in the years since the movie came out lulled us into a false sense of security. Then BAM! The OMG h@x0rs struck while we were grilling weenies and celebrating Memorial Day. And for once, the OMG seems justified – apparently, hackers have breached the networks of several top US defense contractors, including Lockheed Martin.
Sony is still trying to figure out how to best to handle the recent attacks on its PlayStation Network that compromised credit card and other personal information for millions of user accounts. Unfortunately for Sony, sweeping the situation under the rug is no longer an option, not with the continued downtime and literally millions of eyes now on Sony. Company head Howard Stringer already offered up a $1 million apology in the form of an insurance policy, and now we hear Sony is considering a reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of those responsible for causing this whole mess.
This just keeps getting uglier. In a letter to Congress, Sony blamed the notorious vigilante group Anonymous for recent cyberattacks on Sony's network, exposing personal data of more than 100 million gamers. Anonymous was quick to deny involvement, simply stating, "Let's be clear, we are legion, but it wasn't us. You are incompetent Sony." Whether or not that's true, Sony hopes to find out in an ongoing investigation, but in the meantime, at least one more attack appears imminent.
Data firms are proving gold mines for hackers looking to sneak in and steal hordes of customer data in one fell swoop. That's what happened to Epsilon, a firm that stores personal data for thousands of companies, including JPMorgan Chase, Kroger, TiVo, Best Buy, Walgreen, and Capital One. The security breach exposed email addresses and other private data for some 50 firms, including each of the above named outfits.
You know how things that are too good to be true usually are? Well, if you purchased a bunch of Microsoft Points on the cheap from eBay, Craigslist, or somewhere else in the secondhand market, there's a good chance they were falsely generated. Hackers figured out an algorithm to add to existing, used codes to get new MS points in 160-point increments. Hitting refresh would keeping adding to the total.
Anonymous strikes again. This time the target of this loose coalition of online hackers is the site of Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI). A DDoS attack hit the site late last night, forcing BMI to take the site offline. As of this posting, it is still not available. This attack is part of what Anonymous calls the "war on copyright".
As the saying goes, 'Keep your friends close, and sue your customers.' Wait, that isn't exactly right, but it's the motto Sony's sticking with as it takes legal action against a band of hackers who uncovered and published security codes for the PlayStation 3 console, BBC News reports.
Sony named 21-year-old George Hotz and more than 100 others associated with a hacking group known as "fail0verflow" in its lawsuit.
"I am a firm believer in digital rights," Hotz said. "I would expect a company that prides itself on intellectual property to be well versed in the provisions of the law, so I am disappointed in Sony's current action. I have spoken with legal counsel and I feel comfortable that Sony's action against me doesn't have any basis."
If George Hotz sounds at all familiar to you, it's because he's the same person who cracked the iPhone's security measures. In this case, Sony is upset that Hotz figured out Sony's secret codes, including a number used to digitally sign all PS3 games and software as genuine. With that key, any software can be signed as legit, including pirated games.