#11 - Hacking Hackers and their Hacks

#11 - Hacking Hackers and their Hacks

May 23, 2018

Is it cast aside teenage wunderkinds who can seemingly dissect all things computer with the crack of a laptop to create designer chaos?  They are portrayed smoking cigarettes, roller blading and always have media savvy branding!  Too cool!

Any time a major breach is announced, the media conjures up their classic image of this hooded jedi-like figure in a dimly lit room with 0s and 1s swirling about. Film and TV has done a superb job of portraying our favourite computer hacker as the stereotyped quirky yet heavily crafted indie kid who wields the required dexterity to power-type at a moments notice, anywhere on the planet and inject themselves straight into anything from corporate servers, to traffic light control systems to Dinosaur based fun parks. It usually involves some superb visualisations of neon landscapes and swirling equations.

In the episode I unpack hacking and what it really is, with a few notable examples from the past few years.   

Warning! I may debunk Hollywood's sexy portrayal and expose hacking for what it really is... good ol' fashioned elbow grease.

The shownotes for the episode are here.

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#4 - Life’s a Breach - Is My Data Safe?

#4 - Life’s a Breach - Is My Data Safe?

December 12, 2017

No! Thanks for reading (listening).

It could be worth defining what a data breach actually is.

Cyber security people often refer to three essential pillars upon which anyone responsible for data must adhere. They are called the CIA, oddly. Not to be confused with the American super-spy organisation or the FBI, NSA, USPI (US Postal Inspectors of course) or NCIS (whatever the hell that actually is… is it even real?)

The CIA of cybersecurity stands for Confidentiality (can you keep my secret), Integrity (can you make sure my secret cannot be accessed or changed by anyone else), Availability (can anyone else deny me access to it).  If somebody screwed up any of these it’s a problem. A data breach is when a company royally screws up the first one, Confidentiality, and allows data about us, that we trusted them to keep on the down low, available to others.

Two of the most high profile examples which occured in 2017 were of course Equifax and Uber. I could easily spend this whole time ripping into the Equifax breach alone but thankfully, John Oliver and Last Week Tonight have already done a stellar job of that. I highly recommend checking that out.

The Uber breach was also super fun and also had in common with Equifax an attempt to cover it up, or, at least pretend it wasn’t happening for a while.  The Uber/Equifax policy on disclosure is somewhat akin to Homer Simpson, aptly putting it…”I’ll hide under some coats and hope that somehow everything will work out!”

The Uber breach was extra special in that they actually paid the hackers to shut-up and destroy the data they stole so no worries there right? Because hackers have a really rock solid code of ethics. Uber even said they had evidence to suggest data was destroyed. What evidence exactly was that? A screen shot of an empty directory called “Stuff we Stole from Uber” or perhaps they just send them a empty USB stick in the mail with a post-it note saying “See! Gone! We cool?” I’m not totally convinced. Have a quick surf through Dream Market (other Dark Web Marketplaces are available) and see what’s there.

But how do these things happen in the first place? 

Read more in the official show notes

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