No One is Safe. “The Dark Secret of the Web”

By now, you probably have heard how hackers almost crumbled America’s largest bank, how they took down the Target in Russia or maybe you are still reading how China could topple US power grids and Aviation systems in the coming days. What you probably haven’t heard is that you are the next targeton the hackers’ list. Actually as we write this, somebody just hacked the twitter account of Kenya’s Nairobi Senator, Mike Sonko and is trying to hack your account right now.

It is one thing to be hacked and a totally different thing not know you’re hacked. Interestingly, a majority of web users’ fall in the latter category, they crisscross the World Wide Web blinded by the false sense of security that they got nothing to offer hackers. Well, what they forget is that the web is interconnected puzzle and they maybe the missing part the hacker needs unlock the maze. No One is Safe.

The days when hacking was constrained to a few large companies are long gone, no one is safe anymore. Every company and every person “has something of value to protect, something that attackers want,”concurs Craig Williams, a security researcher with Cisco Talos Security Intelligence and Research Group.“Everyone is a potential target.”

Ideally, the easiest way into a company’s network is through its employees. Similarly, the easiest way into someone’s account is through their friends. Some of them mean no harm, they are simply at the wrong place, uploading the wrong snaps to the wrong people. “We’ve now got this whole interconnected cyber-ecosystem where big companies are connected to little ones, international ones connected to local ones, and now with the Internet of Things, consumers are connected to organizations that are connected to other organizations,” adds Steve Ingram, a cyber security expert at PwC Australia.

With a world where everything is smart from, TVs, fridges,thermostats, IP cameras to baby monitors, the risk of attack rises significantly .Every addition new device, comes with a new zero-day vulnerability that hackers are tireless working to exploit. More worrying are the attached third party devices which give-away the target device. A recent survey by HP indicated that most of these devices are marred with “serious vulnerabilities” giving the hacker the right tip-off.

A review of the state of cyber crime in the world show that the number of attacks rose by over 48% in 2013, with 100,000 new attacks reported daily according to PwC report. This implies huge mitigation costs for companies and private entities. A 2014 survey be HP dubbed “2014 Cost of Cyber Crime Study: United States” indicate that US companies alone incur hundreds of millions in cybercrime costs while the cost of cybercrime in Russian is rolling in billion dollars.

Generally all hacking incidences come with immeasurable losses to the victims. The loss may range from devastating financial losses to emotional trauma as witnessed with the iCloud hack which leaked Jennifer Lawrence private photos and the Snappening which plagued snap chatters.

More importantly, the extent and the scope of the hack depends on the type of hackers involved. The First group to watch out for are the online organized hackers’ groups. They are the most ruthless hackers who will do it anyway and anyhow. They smash servers and grab anything that is worth a Bitcoin or two in Silk Road 2.0 or anywhere else on the dark web online markets. “They don’t care if they’re detected. They’re after cash or identity information, anything that can be sold.”says Ingram.

Then comes the snoopy state-sponsored hackers. Their success depends on how long they stay inside a system undetected. A survey by Mandiant Security firm indicated the average time between breach and detection as 229 days. They target“User names, passwords, who you’re sending emails to, who you’re connected with.” A majority of intelligence agencies fall in this category, so don’t be surprise to find the National Security Agency leading this list.

The Hacktivists are trumpeters, the success of their mission depends on how much attention the draw. They are the typical hackers you will find on twitter demanding re-tweets in order to leak victims’ DMs. The Anonymous and RedHack leads this pack, they tend to be politically motivated and are out there for blood. “They can be difficult to anticipate, but they look for headlines. They want to take your site down, crash your servers with denial of service attacks, that sort of thing,” says Instagram.

Top/Featured Image: By geralt / Pixabay (http://pixabay.com/en/surf-www-internet-binary-null-one-107865/)

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No One is Safe. “The Dark Secret of the Web”

by Ali Qamar time to read: 3 min
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