At any point in time when we are surfing the Internet there may be dozens of people trying to lure us into a trap and steal important information from us. Technology is both a blessing and a curse. Yes, this is completely cliché, but this relatively newfound ability to search the Internet allows criminals another avenue to exploit innocent people. The scariest part is how truly easy it is for them. The subtlest change in a URL could very well cost you your social security number. Thousands of people are duped by a hacker over the Internet everyday, who is to say that you will not be the next.
As we learned in class, these hackers do not only operate over the Internet, but up close in the flesh as well. Who knows, maybe that person you held the door open for the other day was a criminal who came in to steal valuable information off someone’s computer. A week ago this thought would have never crept into my mind, but after reading about it in our textbook it seems like a very real possibility. There are so many offline ways that these criminals attempt to solicit information from people. For example, the 10 was just one of the many we learned about and arguably the most effective. It is entirely reasonable to think that a person would give information to another person because he/she finds him/her attractive. Let’s be honest, who wouldn’t give information to someone they found attractive, it’s in our human nature. Jake Gyllenhaul perfected the 10 in the movie love and other drugs.
Despite all the destruction and thievery that comes about due to hacking, the ability to hack has its shining moments as well. As detailed in our book, the joint efforts of the U.S. and Israel created a worm (Stuxnet) that attacked the computers controlling the equipment at Iran’s nuclear facilities and eventually led to the destruction of the equipment. The worm was so intricate that even though it was spinning the centrifuges at alarmingly fast rates the readings came up as normal so the workers thought nothing was wrong. It was too late when they finally figured out what was going on and Iran’s hopes of any nuclear threat ceased to exist. This instance of great success for the U.S. shows that although hacking can be troublesome for many and tough to police, there is still some good that can come from malware.
However, as is the case more often than not hacking is used with the intent to do much more harm than good. This again proved to be the case. In Lebanon, hackers posted the names of important secret witnesses for the trail of the killing of the former Prime minister on a major Lebanese news website. This is already a trial that has been delayed for years and now with the witnesses names having gone public they will be much less likely to come forward with information. The move by the hackers was clearly done to intimidate the witnesses, which will most likely further prolong the trial. What this unfortunate incident shows along with the many that came before it is that IT security needs to become a priority. Many people underestimate the presence of hackers and their abilities and this is when people find themselves getting in serious trouble. Losing your BC I.D. is unfortunate, but losing your identity is life altering.
For more information on the Lebanon hacking: