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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sony Hacking Debacle: Everyone Involved Is A Moron

Posted By on Tue, Jun 7, 2011 at 11:35 AM

click to enlarge Just your average hacker
  • Just your average hacker

It's hard to sympathize with any of the people involved in the security breaches of Sony's computer systems -- and that includes the victims, or some of them anyway.

First, of course, are the hackers themselves. This might be totally illogical, given the damage they've done, but I just can't bring myself to feel menaced by people who use the word "lulz."

Or at least, I assume that I wouldn't find them menacing in person. Online, okay, they obviously have the power to do grave harm (though they generally don't).

But their use of "lulz," their general jejune effect, and just the fact that they spend their time and energy on this juvenile nonsense forces me to assume that, in the flesh, they are pretty much this guy.

Many people tend to assume such hackers are young teenagers, and maybe some of them are. But it seems more likely that it's only their minds that are prepubescent. Just witness the attack on PBS. The dateless wonders of LulzSec, supposedly upset at the way Frontline covered the Bradley Manning/Wikileaks case, posted a hoax story on the site claiming that Tupac Shakur was alive and living in New Zealand. Tupac was killed in 1996, which leads me to believe that these dudes are probably in their 30s. That is, grown men. Physical adults.

Still, the LulzSec crew seems to be of the "grey hat" variety -- their actions are criminal, but they apparently aren't driven by a criminal motive. Rather, they are driven by the thrill of the publicity they receive (and ostensibly by the "causes" they support). I honestly can't decide whether this makes me respect them more, or less.

Then there's Sony, which has been revealing itself as clueless over and over again since at least 2005, when the company's music division installed antipiracy software embedded in a bit of potentially malicious code on the computers of people who downloaded Sony BMG songs.

More recently, the spate of cyberattacks on Sony servers in all different parts of the company has revealed that Sony has no idea what it's doing when it comes to network security.

There are victims other than Sony, like the people whose personal information has been compromised. But in some cases, they seem to be, at least, as responsible as Sony is. 

Troy Hunt of the International Business Times analyzed the user information published by LulzSec, which the group got from its recent hack of Sony Pictures' computers. The analysis is fascinating in its depth, and serves as a nice primer on why people need to think a lot more about their own security -- even on sites like Sony Pictures that are running seemingly harmless contests (which is where the data came from).

Hunt reports that the most-used password there was ... "Seinfeld."

Seinfeld? Apparently, this had to do with a contest Sony Pictures ran that used an episode of the '90s sitcom as a theme (timely!). The No. 2 password was "password." Others included "biscuit," "contest" and "bosco."

"Bosco." Maybe the most famous password other than "password" or "123456." Some people just deserve to be hacked.

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Dan Mitchell


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