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The surprising reason why hacks are so rampant

It's just a fact of life that technology constantly gets better and faster and cheaper and cheaper. But this ever-faster, ever-cheaper technology also has a dark side. While we all love smaller, faster, cheaper and more powerful gadgets, so do hackers.

If you want to know how unprepared we are for cyberattacks, picture this: A security expert managed to recreate a well-known 2012 hack attack by using just 65 cents worth of computing power.

Nathaniel McHugh tried to recreate the circumstances surrounding the famous 2012 Flame hack which infected a variety of Middle Eastern governments. The hack relied on essentially tricking a computer into thinking that something wasn't what it said it was.

If your computer warns you about installing software from untrusted sources, then a hack like Flame would be able to trick your computer into bypassing that warning.

The hack relies on an outdated security protocol that many servers still use at this very moment.

The Flame hack and the one that McHugh recreated for 65 cents rely on an outdated hashing algorithm, MD5. Hashing attaches specific parts of a file to numbers, making it easier to transfer online.

If you're dealing with hashing or have a job in the IT field, then security experts recommend that you use SHA2, SHA3 or SHA2-512/256.

For most of us, though, all we really have to take home from this is that there are digital back doors everywhere. Keep an eye out on the latest security alerts and try to only trust companies that do the same.

The JPMorgan data breach wouldn't have happened if the company had kept up with a series of hacker attacks that didn't manage to breach other banks. Trust the companies that know how to keep you safe.

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Source: Ars Technica
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