Hacking is an unfortunate fact of life today. If you have an email address, a social media account, a website, or use any type of online services, you are vulnerable to hacking. Anyone who has been using the internet for a period of time most likely has dealt with some form of hacking. Even the largest companies cannot prevent hackers from exploiting weaknesses of their systems.
There are many cases of high-profile hacking. They range from MasterCard getting their website defaced to the hijacking an individual’s personal email account. Lately, it has become fashionable in hacking circles to hijack the social media accounts of famous people or companies. One of the latest cases involves the Facebook page of Mark Zuckerberg himself.
This particular hacking incident was not malicious. In fact, Facebook welcomes so-called “white hat” hackers. It pays cash to anyone who can uncover security flaws on the website. White hat hackers help companies build a more robust and secure system by identifying design or system vulnerabilities. Such was the case in this instance where Khalil Shreateh posted on Zuckerberg’s Facebook profile after repeatedly being ignored by the Facebook security team.
His post reads, “First, sorry for breaking your privacy and posting to your wall. I had no choice to make after all the reports I sent to the Facebook team.” The Palestinian hacker is a self-described unemployed cybersecurity researcher. His discovery was overlooked because Facebook receives hundreds of daily reports from various sources.
Needless to say, the Facebook team resolved the flaw and Shreateh was rewarded for his efforts. But not all hacking incidents have such happy endings. There are cases when a person’s entire digital identity is erased due to hacking. Mat Honan, a writer for Gizmodo, has this experience. His accounts on Google, Twitter, and Apple were hacked into.
This type of attack has become very common. Hacking into the Twitter account of media companies, for example, has become very popular among hackers. In essence, they post disturbing news about politics, financial markets, or high-profile individuals. This fake news spreads like wildfire in social media sites because it was published by a “reputable” company.
The account of CBS’s 60 Minutes, 48 Hours, and CBS Denver were recent victims of such attack. The hackers posted included “New Evidence of CIA Arming Al Qaeda Terrorists in #Syria” and “The American people must stop their government, before the whole world is destroyed.” Althought, the tweets have been removed –the damage is done.
These cases are just several examples of how hacking has become prevalent in today’s digital age. Hackers are increasingly becoming more sophisticated as well. It is critical for governments and companies to fight malicious hackers effectively. Hacking might be impossible to eliminate but it can be minimized. Investing in cybersecurity and hiring experts who know the tricks of the trade can help provide better security to users.