French TV5 Monde Hacked by ISIS
The French-language television network TV5Monde suffered a prolonged outage in an attack claimed by ISIS’ “CyberCaliphate” group. While the details of the hack are still unfolding, the scale of the attack demonstrates some sophistication. The network’s webpage, Facebook, and 11 broadcast channels were affected. The CyberCaliphate is the same group that briefly took control of the U.S. Central Command’s twitter feed in January.
The hack points out the danger in interconnected systems. Hackers that gain access to one system by a phishing attack or exploitation of a known but unpatched vulnerability in a webpage are able to burrow in to the organization’s network. These advanced attacks enable the hackers to conduct reconnaissance and exploit information for criminal or propaganda purposes. As the Sony case demonstrated, these hacks are at the very least embarrassing and in most cases expensive. TV5 will likely suffers days of disruption and lost revenue as well as embarrassment and loss of customer confidence.
Coincidently, yesterday the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) warned of vulnerabilities in the WordPress software that provides content management for about 20% of global websites. Although patches are available, many users have still not installed them and thus leave themselves open to commonly used hacking tools. While this may or may not be the vulnerability that ISIS used in the TV5 case, there are certainly other websites that are vulnerable today. Keeping software and operating systems up to date with patches is one of the fundamental best practices in cybersecurity. While keeping up to date with patches is not as glamorous as finding the cyber-mole in your system, it will help keep the moles out.
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