Sony is having a rough month after hackers broke into its systems, stole just about everything, released damaging emails and other private information online, shut down Sony's studio, and then forced it to back down on releasing the movie "The Interview." If that isn't enough to scare every company out there, nothing is.
Of course, Sony is hardly the last hack you'll see, and not even the last one this year, as we're now finding out. As the Sony hack was dominating headlines, hackers were hitting an even more worrying target.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, is the company that regulates domain names and a number of other basic Internet technologies. It has revealed that hackers compromised its systems earlier this month.
The breach gave hackers access to multiple email accounts, the content management systems of certain ICANN blogs, ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee wiki (including members-only sections), and ICANN’s centralized zone data system, or CZDS, which contains ... basically everything related to the management of domains.
ICANN said the hackers use a "spear-phishing" attack to get in. That means the hackers targeted certain high-level members of the company with fake email that tricked them into downloading a virus or giving up their username and password.
I just warned you about the dangers of spear-phishing attacks and how hackers can use a site like LinkedIn to make their emails more believable. Click here to find out what information hackers want to learn and how to stop them.
ICANN has worked quickly to lock down the breach and says that the hackers didn't get anything important. Of course, even names and email addresses are dangerous in the hands of a hacker - that's how they could break into ICANN in the first place.
Also, any information the hackers can get about the inner workings of the Internet could lead to serious problems later on. Fortunately, it looks like hackers didn't get into the International Assigned Numbers Authority system managed by ICANN.
IANA is responsible for assigning IP addresses around the world and coordinates the fundamental servers responsible for the entire Domain Name System. Getting control of that would let hackers cause major disruptions in the Internet. Of course, that doesn't mean they won't try again.
This is just further proof that nothing and no one is safe from truly dedicated hackers. Still, that doesn't mean you shouldn't try. Click here for essential things you need to know to stay safe in the digital world.