Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Pitting Hackers Against Hackers (A Republish from Editorial Writing Class)
So, how can we stop these hackers?
Open Security Foundation, a non-profit organization, has developed a data loss data base for anyone to report an incident. The idea of the program is that transparency is key to educating victims of hackers. The lists on the Data Loss website include reports from individuals and small-town dermatologists to the Washington Post and MasterCard.
But is transparency enough to stop hackers? Has transparency ever been enough? . . . I think not.
Following Julian Assange’s release of Wikileaks.org, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “Let’s be clear: This disclosure is not just an attack on America’s foreign policy interests. It is an attack on the international community – the alliances and partnerships, the conversations and negotiations that safeguard global security and advance economic prosperity.” Assange violated the U.S. statute 18 USC 793(e), which basically protects the U.S. government and military from people exposing information that might affect national security. However, besides a U.S. statute that protects the military, we don’t really have official protection from online hackers.
Not only is the government slow to take action, large corporations are even slow to be proactive against hackers. For example, Delta Air Lines, Inc. has one of the largest customer loyalty databases—meaning they have the personal information of millions of customers, crossing borders into other nations. Still, the airline industry mostly worries about hackers getting into the air traffic control computers than losing the information of its customers, mostly because social networks provide enough personal information for identity theft these days anyways.
Delta and other large corporations only protect their systems with anti-virus spyware. It hasn’t yet hired a team of anti-hackers ready to blast away any and every attack on air traffic control computer, non-the-less customers’ personal information. Anti-hacking systems are too slow and non-proactive for our current technology. Even if there’s more transparency with organizations like the Open Security Foundation, it isn’t enough to stop hackers.
While it’s a great start to an omnipresent issue, something else has to be done before more Watergate-WikiLeaks scandals happen. Why are hackers befuddling governments? Is it a game for them or do they know something our governments don’t?
And, rather than relying on computer software, the U.S. government, corporations, and individuals need to be more proactive by either training employees or educating themselves on proper anti-hacking procedures. If we do this, maybe the University of Georgia wouldn’t be investigating how nearly 19,000 employees’ personal information ended up on a public domain. Or maybe WikiLeaks wouldn’t have happened.