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Your cyber space is a hackers paradise

by Prasad Krishna last modified Aug 23, 2011 12:58 AM
It Looks like hackers are having a ball targeting all kinds of websites — gaming, news, government, personal email and even those run by terror networks, writes Shayan Ghosh. The article was published in Mail Today on June 6, 2011.

After Sony PlayStation Network and Gmail breaches this week, the latest is an attack on Sony Pictures.

The hackers who broke into the Sony Pictures website have collected private information such as passwords and email identities.

"A group of criminal hackers known as LulzSec claimed to have breached some of our websites," CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment Michael Lynton said.

LulzSec, involved in the hacking of several leading US media firms last month, however, has another story to tell. The group blamed Sony Pictures for carelessness.

"Every bit of data we took wasnt encrypted. Sony stored over 10 lakh passwords of its customers in plaintext, which means it is just a matter of taking it." "We broke into SonyPictures. com and compromised over 10 lakh users personal information, including passwords, email addresses, home addresses, dates of birth, and all Sony data associated with their accounts.

Among other things, we also compromised all administration details of Sony Pictures ( including passwords) along with 75,000 music codes and 3.5 million coupons", the group said in a post on Pastebin. com . Google mail, too, was breached this week and the hackers gained access to email accounts of hundreds of people, including senior US government officials and journalists. Google confirmed that Gmail accounts were hacked." We recently uncovered a campaign to collect user passwords, likely through phishing,” the search, cloud and net tech giant said on its blog.

Asked about reports that Gmail accounts of some Indian diplomats based in China had been hacked, Google declined to comment, saying it had no data of any specific people whose accounts have been hacked.

But the company pointed fingers at China.

"This campaign, which appears to originate from Jinan in China, affected what seem to be the personal Gmail accounts of hundreds of users, including senior US government officials, Chinese political activists, officials in several Asian countries ( predominantly South Korea), military personnel and journalists, among others," a posting on the companys official blog said.

Indian experts, too, blame Chinese hackers. "China poses a serious threat to our national security as these hacking issues dont just seem to stop," Ahmedabadbased cybercrime consultant Sunny Vaghela said.

The hackers probably targeted Gmail because of the number of users they have, Vaghela added.

All regimes have now started implementing surveillance mechanisms on the Internet. This is a disturbing trend all over the world.

China has supremacy on it mainly because they are an early adopter of Internet surveillance and content filtering mechanisms,” a software consultant based in Bangalore, Anivar Aravind, said.

"Its become more about proving a point. Hackers want to tell people that I can hack into your system and show its vulnerability," Center for Internet and Society director of research in Bangalore Nishant Shah said.

But LulzSec has its own logic: "Our goal here is not to come across as master hackers… Why do you put such faith in a company that allows itself to become open to these simple attacks?"

Online Safety Measures

Secure your Email:

  • Change passwords often
  • Use the Gmail feature to check your “ last account activity”. It shows the IP address ( denoting a specific computer) used to access your email
  • Do not open unknown email attachments
  • Do not store sensitive and personal data in email accounts 

Things to Avoid

  • Do not visit unknown sites; Use different passwords for different accounts 
  • Do not divulge credit card numbers over emails or on social networks 
  • Keep track of your credit/ debit card account 
  • For online transactions use encrypted websites. Look for SSL certificate or padlock icon

    Read the original published by Mail Today here

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