There’s no stopping the march of technology.
But are we all marching over a cliff?
Whether it’s photos of nude celebrities hacked from the iCloud, hacked credit cards at Home Depot, hacking attacks on JPMorgan Chase, or the National Security Agency’s hacking all of us, the truth is that we’re all hackable – because we’re all on servers somewhere.
Servers – whether in our own PCs, in our workplace’s IT “closets” or in the “cloud” – provide essential services and hold huge amounts of our important information.
And it doesn’t matter where your server is. If you’re on a server – and you are – you can be hacked…
Apple’s Bad Week
There are many ways we can be hacked, and lots of ways companies and server farms and clouds can be hacked.
According to Apple, the nude celebrity photos stolen from the iCloud didn’t result from a breach of the iCloud (though it did). According to Apple, they were stolen (through the iCloud) from the individual accounts of the celebrities.
Apparently, “brute force” was used to run thousands of possible passwords before coming up with winning entries that yielded access to the stacks of stored photos.
If you’re wondering how the public felt about the breach… well, some of you probably enjoyed the photos. However, a lot of you sold Apple stock yesterday.
The big drop in the stock, traceable to the iCloud hack, comes at nearly the precise moment Apple is likely to introduce its new “mobile wallet” along with the launch of the new iPhone 6.
Talk about bad timing.
Just when we’re supposed to lock ourselves further into the Apple ecosystem and consider giving up our plastic cards for a “secure” mobile wallet, the same iCloud where our digital money and credit will be shepherded… it gets sheared.
Then there’s the Home Depot hack. Though the hack occurred back in April or May, we don’t know much yet, because the DIY retailer isn’t saying much. But it looks like 2,200 stores were affected, which means millions of customers’ data was probably spilled.
Clean up on aisles 7, 8, 9 and 10 – and on the servers.
How big could the HD hack be? Bigger than the Target hack that affected 40 million credit card numbers and compromised 70 million addresses and phone numbers and other personal information.
Even scarier is the recent hack of JPMorgan Chase, only the largest bank in the United States. Who did what? No one is saying, because it’s a bank and there are national implications.
National implications? Yep.
Here’s what the retired four-star Army General Keith B. Alexander, formerly director of the NSA and head of U.S. Cyber Command, had to say. In an interview with Bloomberg yesterday, Alexander said the JPMorgan Chase hack may have been orchestrated by Russia as a warning to the United States over its Ukraine-related sanctions.
Vladimir Putin‘s message: “If you mess with us, we will undermine your financial system.”
We know the math whizzes at the NSA, courtesy of hero/traitor Edward Snowden‘s revelations, are hacking everyone here at home. Yeah, that means you and me.
And they’re hacking into our friends’ and allies’ “secure” communications networks. And they’re spying on them in their offices and in their bedrooms – and they’re probably looking at their nude photos, too.
We know it, and now our pissed-off friends know it, too.
There’s hacking going on in “them thar hills,” and big national governments – ours and Russia’s – are behind a lot of it.
All those hills are alive with the sound of hackable humming servers. So, are we all headed over some technology cliff that’s going to land us in some open field where we’re all nude and vulnerable to being terrorized?
It could be.
Storm Clouds Gathering
And just when we thought the cloud was going to be the next big thing, Timothy D. Naegele is speaking up.
In an online comment posted to American Banker‘s Tuesday story about the iCloud breaches, the highly respected financial attorney and former counsel to the Senate Banking Committee wrote, “The cloud is a mistake. No one’s data is safe. It is vulnerable to hackers, terrorists and others. Anyone who tells you differently is mistaken.”
Take this as a warning.
If you can activate or turn on multifactor authentication requirements on your stuff stored on servers, do it. If you have your passwords and/or log-on information stored in any cloud anywhere or on a server at home, take them offline and store them in an old-fashioned paper (remember paper?) notebook.
If you have apps that access and store stuff in the cloud, what’s in that cloud can be traced back to your computer, tablet or cellphone – which may not be such a “smart” phone, after all.
Whatever you can do to make your digital footprint scarce, do it. Get off grid before your own nude photos go online… because I really don’t want to see them.
I’m not talking to you, Kate Upton.