Thursday, May 22, 2014

Cyber attacks and their consequences


“The scope for damage is absolutely huge and could be the biggest hack of all time” (Rik Ferguson, vice president of security research at Trend Micro).

This quote is related to the massive data breach suffered by the Internet giant eBay. The attackers “compromised a small number of employee log-in credentials,” allowing unauthorised access to eBay’s customer database where it was stored the personal data of its 233 million users. The company stated that the breach did not affected the financial details of its users, but hackers had access to other information such as names, email addresses, physical addresses, phone numbers and birth dates. Also to the passwords, but in this case they were encrypted. This is a highly valuable information if sold in the black market, so no doubt this incident will have serious repercussions for eBay.

If we analyze the consequences of the attack suffered by Target in December, eBay’s future does not look very bright. First, the departure of its CIO. Later, Target’s CEO also resigned. In addition, the company had $25 million of breach-related costs, not to mention a 46% drop in its profits in the last quarter of 2013 and 26% in the first of this year.

However, criminals who perform this kind of attacks could also face significant consequences. As example, we have the case of David Ray Camez, one of the key members of the criminal organization Carder.su. Mr. Camez used to steal and deal with credit cards. Now he has been sentenced to 20 years in prison in U.S.

But not only major crimes are punished by justice. For example, police would chase you if you install spyware on your girlfriend's phone, as a young man from Spain did. The 23 year old man has been arrested by the Spanish Guadia Civil for an offense against the privacy of the person and the case is already in court.

Since some years ago, another important area of ​​our privacy is placed on our social media profiles. Therefore Facebook, which is the biggest social network, strives to enhance our accounts’ security and protect the most vulnerable people. On the one hand, it reached an agreement with security firms F-Secure and Trend Micro to scan user’s devices seeking for malware and offer them free tools to remove it. On the other hand, it has launched its Cyberbullying Prevention Center in Spain, which provides useful information and tools for victims of bullying.

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