Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Three Wise Men... of hacking are coming

Ya vienen los Reyes... del hacking

There is a Spanish Christmas carol that says “The Three Wise Men are coming through the sand. They are bringing a nice diaper to the Child”.  Take advantage of this opportunity to sing a Christmas carol because it could be the last chance to do it until next December. Yesterday Spaniards were busy on unpacking the gifts brought by the Magi, the day that marks the end of the holidays.

Although antivirus software or security suite products are not very glamorous, they should have been on the Christmas gifts top ten. Anyone who received one of McAfee’s products can keep it as a collector's item since Intel decided to change the name of the company - which owns since 2010 - for Intel Security. Meanwhile John McAfee, the firm’s founder  and a controversial figure who created several anti-McAfee campaigns since he lost control of the company, received the news as a real Christmas present: "I am now everlastingly grateful to Intel for freeing me from this terrible association with the worst software on the planet."

It is likely that also the hackers who managed to keep an ad with malware running on the European version of Yahoo.com for at least 3 or 4 days are very happy. The malicious code exploited a vulnerability in the Java console, which did not affect Mac users or mobile ones, but Yahoo did not dare to give a number for the amount of potential victims infected.

Likewise the enthusiasm showed by the hacker who managed to compromise the World Tournament Poker League Poker Amateur (WPTAPL) website will have been diluted when he found out that only 50,000 of the 175,333 stolen passwords in plain text belong to active accounts and passwords can not be used to log into the website or have any associated financial data because we speak about a free web.

It comes that some hackers are more skilled than others. While some managed to obtain card data of 450,000 clients of JP Morgan Chase last month, others seek to profit with a not too sophisticated phishing attack that targets Chase’s payment users instead of UCARD ones who were te ones affected by the previous attack. We hope these users let common sense to guide them and do not fall into the trap.

Another company that suffered a security breach last month was Snapchat. 4.6 million user names and phone numbers were leaked. Now, as a Christmas present, they announced that they will release an update with security enhancements, including the option of disabling the "find friends" feature which was the one that led to the vulnerability.


Most of the news we gathered today had a common factor: hackers. To better understand who they are and get a broader picture of what hacking is we bring you our special Christmas present: the conceptual map of hacking by Professor René Mérou.


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