What the Hack?

Dear Reader,

Apologies for the lack of posts lately. Two websites got cracked. And I say cracked, because hacking is something completely different.

One website was turned into a spambot, sending out spam emails under the domain name. The other one was plastered with links to fraudulent websites selling pills. Both break ins had been possible due to outdated content management systems lacking updates. Those websites were neither mine, nor did I maintain them. But the owners asked for help, and fixing the websites kept me busy for a few days, and nights. After diablog got cracked in March 2011, I had promised here to educate myself more. I did, and that knowledge came handy now.

Cracking has been in the news a lot lately, thanks to some stupid – borderline criminal – media company, aka Sony. You can read here, why I call them stupid, and here why I call them borderline criminal.

Following the old political rule – never let a crisis go unused – the American government jumped on the band wagon. The POTUS is unethical enough to call for more rules for the internet. Never mind that his NSA is undermining the internet constantly. I guess Obama believes we are too stupid to see the irony in that.

As a result, now the world is discussing an equally stupid movie, aka The Interview, and North Korea. Instead of what really matters, like how US congress passed a bill granting “Unlimited Access To Private Communications Of Every American” without legal process. Or the consequences of the torture report.

If you want an educated opinion about the crack, I highly recommend the often mentioned Bruce Schneier. Here are two quotes:

First, this is not an act of terrorism. There has been no senseless violence. No innocents are coming home in body bags. Yes, a company is seriously embarrassed–and financially hurt–by all of its information leaking to the public. But posting unreleased movies online is not terrorism. It’s not even close.

Nor is this an act of war. Stealing and publishing a company’s proprietary information is not an act of war. We wouldn’t be talking about going to war if someone snuck in and photocopied everything, and it makes equally little sense to talk about it when someone does it over the internet.

By the way, if a cracker breaks into a private company and the US government threatens to retaliate, what should Belgium do to the UK, after the government agency GCHQ breaks into the state-owned Belgacom? Declare war?

Stay calm,

Engine Room