Over the past month, there has been a strange phenomenon. Companies, both large and small, started revealing that they had fallen victim to hackers who had compromised social media channels, websites, and online security. Everyone from Evernote to Microsoft had a story to tell. So the question is, are companies forgetting the importance of Internet security?
The surge started on social media, specifically Twitter. As most people with a Twitter account noticed, the beginning of February brought with it a fresh, new phishing attack. Through direct messages and the ploy of a possible questionable picture (“Did you see this pic of you? lol”), plenty of passwords and information were captured from both experienced social media professionals and the casual user.
Then another surge occurred, this time involving hacking into corporate Twitter accounts, such as those belonging to Burger King and Jeep. Whether due to poor passwords or expert hacking from accused group @DFNTSC, it was a PR mess for both companies. Naturally, as is the way with the Internet, parodies arose, with MTV and BET leading the charge and pretending to hack into each other’s accounts in a similar style to the legitimate hacks. Maybe they hoped to get a larger following (Burger King gained 30,000 followers in the hour following its hacking incident), but it was a rather obvious PR move regardless.
On a more serious level, companies like Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, and Evernote have all recently reported security compromises. Some, like Facebook, Microsoft and Apple, claimed that no data was stolen, but all reported symptoms that suggest the attacks originated in malware from China. Twitter and Evernote, on the other hand, feared their own hacks so much that they had users set new passwords to make sure nobody fell prey to the attack.
The bottom line is, it seems that both companies and individuals might need a reminder that Internet security is not to be taken lightly. With the spotlight shining brightly on big data, companies with private information cannot afford to be hacked. So spend the money on better passwords, stronger firewalls, and a well-trained IT team, because this will not be the last wave of hackers. Consider this your warning.
Author: Zack Smith