In 2014 large amount of Tech news was reported, from new devices to hacking and security fails. Lets take a look at what got you reading.
Sony announced that the PlayStation Network will be going down today (Monday) for 6 hours, for planned maintenance.
Not again I hear you say…
It looks as though Sony maybe starring at another PlayStation Network breach, following the dismal year for the network in 2011. Following the highly successful launch of the PS4, Sony could be about to receive and unexpected surprise.
Hacking has proven a unpleasant and sometimes expensive experience for both consumers and organisations in the past. Hackers can rack up enormous bills on victims credit cards, penetrate firms firewalls and tamper with online services. But has hacking become more widely spread in recent years or has our perception and media attention of the matter intensified?
Hacking has existed to blight the digital era since the very beginning. Computers as we know them today, interconnected through servers and networks – able to access documents and send and receive files (the internet), have only been present for just over 30 years. But in that time methods have been developed to ruin and corrupt data that companies and consumers keep in the open world of the internet. In the early 60’s however hacking was starting to evolve out of protest counter culture groups. ‘Phreaking’ began to catch on between rebellious groups, the act of tampering with telecommunications systems and telephone networks, established itself abundantly in the protest community. Later hacking became prevalent at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) hacking was seen as an inspired and creative method of overcoming a problem. Most famously a hack saw a replica of a campus police car put on top of the Institutes Great Dome. Over time these acts would be seen as a prowess of creative and computing genius.
Yet today they have a slightly different image. The word “hacker” has become a synonym of young men sitting in darkly lit rooms terrorizing the internet and all it’s users. They have become infamous in society today and yet even more pronounced in their most recent attacks; as we rely more heavily on the internet and its resources hacking becomes more and more a ‘front page’ news story. With the development of consumer computers and the mass adoption of the internet hacking has now become a taboo of society. Not talked about – but not underestimated. Yet we still have not made any efforts as a society to address the issues hacking may impose, nor does anyone really now know the motives behind most attacks.
Terrorism and the far East were the hot topics of the 90’s and early 21st century. But now as the war in Afghanistan draws to a close and military operations and capabilities of the previous super powers dwindle, threats are being encountered on new fronts. In 2008 alone an estimated $1 trillion of intellectual property were stolen from organisations and firms as well as scientists unveiling that it only takes 10 minutes to crack a 6 lettered lower case password. Hacking is no more a ‘creative’ student joke. Data is stolen, money is laundered, bank accounts emptied and governments hold to ransom. Hacking has become prolific – and if it was a business ‘born and bred’ in the States, it has truly ‘gone global’. The most famous attack in recent years may possibly be the infection of the Sony Playstation Network, where 77 million account details were compromised along with the inevitable suspension of the service. Hacking is now a torment of business and consumer life and the internet is now becoming more and more militarised.
No longer are these attacks carried out by school boys – but multi million dollar organisations and conmen. Anonymous have been in the news recently for the apparent hacks and hijacks of the Federal Reserve and Obama’s Gun Policy campaign. Along with WikiLeaks the internet is now becoming a medium for activists to plan and carry out their latest raids. Governments now fear what documents will next be leaked and the implications that will follow. Security services have taken steps to now monitor and prevent cyber terrorism and Britain’s state of the art centre for cyber security, GCHQ, has now come under attack for ‘Big Brother’ like censorship and wide spread monitoring. However, only recently did an American Oil firm Telvnet track a recent breach of systems back to China. Increasingly the communist state is becoming more involved in cyber attacks and has been accused of also being behind recent hacks on Facebook, Apple and Microsoft. China’s communist and dictatorship state have relinquished all wrong doing and have insisted their ‘Great Wall’ of Chinese internet usage would prevent hacks like so. Nevertheless governments and businesses are now worrying that hacking is becoming more militarised. China and the East have been suspected of Government authorised infiltration and snooping. Officials have denied such acts, yet the West remains teetering on the edge of the seats. I’m not suggesting that war is about to break out between the two countries – more the fact as accusations remain to be made relationships will begin to wear. Innovation and freedom will be the consequences and price to pay for these degrading relationships as well as world wide development.
As a global community we must tackle hacking and the underground society that harbour the criminals behind them. Whilst retaining the freedom of the internet. The web has been a place for community and free speech to thrive and this is the way it should remain. State controlled access would be only counter-productive and lead to a rebirth of hacking and cyber attacks. Without the support from government, recognition from industry and security firms hacking will remain to blight the internet revolution. Terrorism has taken on new forms and no longer will people die on the battlefield, but rather money, stocks and data lost on the trading floor a symbol of the steps warfare has evolved with technology. The internet is a tool of collaboration and human connectivity. It should not be hijacked by those wishing to cause harm and seek damage – yet sadly, without collaboration, I see the problem of hacking persisting much longer.