As we move towards a more distributed network – and society – it means that we equally move towards distributed control. Despite the fact that we regularly relinquish our control on a daily basis, it is when it happens unbeknownst to us, and our personal information falls into the lap of those who crave it most – hackers – that is the real issue as it exposes the dark side of the Internet.
Yes, there are the lovely hackers – or hacktivists – who unveil the lies we have been force-fed for decades; but when a hacker goes haywire, we then see the formation of cyber-sleuths, creating cyberwarfare and ultimately it is cyberterrorism.
One of the main issues around the rise of cybersleuths, is that we too readily believe that that there is – as Mitew 2014 defines – and electronic frontier that is protecting us and in reality there is not and it leaves us, the government, major organisations and institutions extremely vulnerable.
Cyberhackers are said to have aims which include the need to “gain attention, embarrass website owners and ridicule security measures” (Arthur, 2013) and this is why I find their motives to be childish and quite frankly, impish. As Mitew (2014) suggest “[these] agencies are attempting to control, infiltrate, manipulate and warp online discourses, and in doing so, are compromising the integrity of the Internet itself”
Arthur (2013) explores the recent history of cyberhackers LulzSec after they hacked Fox.com for making remarks on-air including calling rapper Common “vile”. Then they unleashed their incredibly moronic behaviour. The group leaked “73,000 X Factor U.S. contestants names” and from there continued on to hack into PBS and plant a false story and later, hacked into the Sony PlayStation Network where they then stole, “24.6 million customers’ private data”. So what are they trying to prove? That certain computer systems are weak and easy to hack? Well, congratulations, you found that out but why leak pointless, personal information? At least Assange and other hacktivists have a motive, a goal, something that contributes to society.
Society should be worried about cyberhacker’s tenacity over the Internet as it is the new age Cold War, “some the largest U.S. threats are buzzing through Russian and Chinese computer systems…operated by highly skilled hackers” (Summers, 2014). And as Summer (2014) continues to state that these highly skilled hackers are either financially backed by the state or they are purely state-employed hackers and this is of concern as they are after anything from oil drilling maps to military technology blueprints.
Eugene Kaspersky co-founder and chief executive of Kaspersky lab commented on the rise of cyberwarfare, “I think that this is a turning point…because in the past there were cyber-criminals, now I am afraid it is the time of cyber-terrorism, cyber-weapons and cyber-wars” (Mgtitew, 2014). So what is the future for us? Constant surveillance, hackers digging through our personal information just to retaliate against a radio station?
Arthur, C, 2013, ‘LulzSec: what they did, who they were and how they were caught’, Guardian, accessed 17 October, http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/may/16/lulzsec-hacking-fbi-jail
Mitew, T, 2014, ‘Dark fiber: hackers, botnets, cyberwar’, University of Wollongong, week 11 lecture, accessed 13 October, http://prezi.com/iiied2_aa8tc/digc202-dark-fiber-hackers-botnets-cyberwar/
Summers, D.J., 2014, ‘Fighting in the cyber trenches’, Fortune, accessed 13 October, http://fortune.com/2014/10/13/cold-war-on-business-cyber-warfare/
Photo credit – cyberspace bomb
Photo credit – Evolution of war