Hacking and its real-life consequences

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power-plant

Increasingly we are seeing hacking have impactful “real-life” effects and consequences: first Sony pulled The Interview and now South Korea is on high alert after hackers breached a power plant. Is this an inevitable step?


By now you have most likely heard about the Sony hack and the subsequent withdrawal of The Interview from theatrical release. I put out a little summary of the initial hack, here.

What you may not have heard about yet is the hack on a South Korean nuclear power plant.

The hackers responsible have demanded that the plant shutdown three of its reactors before Christmas. Warning that if they don’t people should “stay away” from the plant – what a subtle threat.

I asked Mark James, ESET security specialist, what he makes of this trend in hacking.


A rock and a hard place


“With the effect of Sony’s hack that we have seen I expect to see similar attempts to follow over the year, but will they be as successful ?”

“We are seeing a lot more direct attacks on larger companies recently and I don’t see this changing anytime soon.”

I then asked Mark if companies, in an effort to stay current, are stuck in a catch 22 between needing an online presence and possible overexposure and security risks.

“The companies are indeed stuck in the middle: these days a company has to have a web presence , so many people use the internet for resource gathering and online shopping that they absolutely have to have something public facing.”

“Of course this brings some large concerns over security these days, updates and good practices need to be adhered too.”

“And keeping up to date on attack methods while at the same time making sure your staff are well versed on the dangers of phishing attacks and how to spot the obvious ones.”

Mark concludes that “sadly it’s a minefield but one that does have to be negotiated if you want to stay “in the game”.”

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Does the potential for hacking to affect the “real world” worry you?