30th Nov – Computer Security Day – 9 Scariest online hacks

 Today is Computer Security Day! There will be thousands of articles, focused on how to protect your social media accounts and apps from hackers. We will highlight some of the major points and links. We have decided to feature some of the scariest online hack stories. Before we go to the scariest online hack stories, things you need to know:

  1. We often signup with Facebook, twitter, Gmail etc, do read what these signup means and what they can access. Don’t give permission to post back on Facebook if you are not sure of their security. Imagine a post by you, “you read XXX sites” (this happened to one of the directors of a renowned B-School, he somehow managed to delete it on time) , attaching the Facebook app management, please cross check it. Thats the least action you can take.
  2. Enable login alerts from different system, logout from all devices, put a new password.
  3. Using same password at different places, remembering password is difficult but you need to keep atleast some set of passwords for important sites and not so important sites
  4. Mobile is a big risk, you are logged in to various important portals through your sell, your password recovery can happen through SMS, a big risk. There are options available, one need to read and do the needful https://support.google.com/a/answer/173390?hl=en
  5. There are many more issues, please comment and help others.
Computer security day

9 Scariest Online Hacks

1) When Facebook, Twitter and Google were hacked simultaneously:  Let’s start with a 2013 story. It was a peaceful December weekend but not for the people in the U.S., Germany, Thailand and Singapore. Two million social media accounts of these regions, were hacked, including Facebook, gmail and Twitter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 There were 326,000 Facebook accounts, 22,000 Twitter accounts, 60,000 Google accounts, and 59,000 Yahoo accounts that were compromised. The miscreants stole all the passwords and stored in a colossus network of hacked computers, popular as the ‘Pony botnet’, as per Trustwave’s Chicago-based SpiderLabs researchers. Though Facebook and Twitter horridly reset all the passwords.  However, a shocking revelation came up followed by the incident -16,000 account owners had set their passwords as “12345” or “admin” or “password”. 

2) Sony Pictured hacked by #GOP: Last week was not good for Sony Pictures, when they came under attack by #GOP. Who are they again? -you must be thinking. Well, it’s remained a mystery as their demands. Look at the Reddit poster that broke the news. 

 This image was there at every computer screen of their NY office, as confirmed by a Sony Pictures employee. This poster is followed by a number of zip files that apparently the hackers did not want the world to see.  Apart from Sony Pictures office computers, a good number of Twitter accounts, associated with movies and entertainment, were also hacked. Look at the kind of tweets that were posted in the Twitter feed. 

 However, soon Sony Pictures cleared all the Twitter tensions but we still don’t know the motive. Seems Michael Lynton has the answer!  

3) 98k SnapChat files were hacked! On October this year several SnapChat users went to a panic-zone when they heard of security breach of their favorite app. According to a report, all the private SnapChat data were supposed to be posted online. But when nothing happened for a few hours, they thought it was a hoax.

 Two days later more than 98,000 files, totaling over 13GB of data, were posted on The Pirate Bay. All these SnapChat images and videos were saved on snapsaved.com, a third party website. SnapChat immediately responded to the incident on Twitter.

4) Your Amazon password changed or hacked?  Back in late September this year, hundreds of Amazon customers received a strange e-mail, stating that their account passwords were changed for security reasons. Here is the e-mail content:

Amazon feared a global security threat and since the website deals with credit cards, they could not take a chance. Previously, Amazon faced security issues for a number of customers. So it was “once bitten, twice shy” kind of attitude from Amazon’s end, as many customers assumed. But we don’t think a big brand like Amazon would do it just for security measures.  

5) Was it US Airways or the bad boys?  This April was (in)famous for a US Airways’ customer service tweet. Apparently, it was nothing wrong until they redirected their customer to a pornographic content.  

 Initially the US Airways took the responsibility and declared that one of their employees did it. But a hacker, named Breakfast_ stole the limelight when he proclaimed that it was him and not any US Airways employee. It was AntiSociety.com that revealed the entire thing; where he shared the entire process he followed to hack the US Airways Twitter account. When he was asked why the airlines was not admitting it, he claimed that they must have feared loss of brand reputation.  He said AntiSociety, “If they admit that they were hacked, it can shape the trust that their customers are supposed to have in whatever the security platform is.” But are we convinced enough?  He revealed that initially he planned to post it on Malaysian Airlines’ Twitter feed, saying that they finally found the lost plane. But he thought that it could show poor taste and targeted US Airways instead.  Malaysian Airlines must be feeling lucky, really lucky!  

6) World’s sexiest politician was also the coolest:  Olga Lyulchak, also popular as the world’s sexiest politician, did not want to add another controversy to Ukraine’s political scenario, when her nude pictures were doing the rounds over the Internet. What did she do? She just laughed and moved on. 

 All her nude and semi-nude photos were posted on a Ukrainian blogger’s website, called, Oleksandr Baraboshko. Ogla confirmed that her iCloud account was compromised. But her reaction was, “I really don’t care.” A family member remarked that the reason of her not being ashamed of these leaked images was, she considered them as pieces of “art”. We are sure it’s not only her who thought it that way! Okay, now hold your breath. Here comes the celebrity leaked images! 

7) Penny might not be smart but Kaley surely is! The Big Bang Theory famed Kaley Cuoco Sweeting once again proved that she is the coolest of all. When her iCloud was hacked to obtain nude images, instead of reacting to these photos, she chose to clarify the entire stuff with her family first. Next she did was something very witty. She posted an Instagram photo with nudifying effect. How cool was that? 

 However, according to Kaley, most of these leaked photos are fake.

8) Jennifer Lawrence, however took it seriously: Unlike Kaley, when Jennifer Lawrence’s nude photos were leaked, she reacted in a furious way. She reported the crime and demanded serious action against the hackers. But only if someone was there to take that!
Again, it was iCloud! She reported that her photos were stolen from her phone and published on a 4Chan site. Later it was revealed that her ex-boyfriend is a professional hacker. Sensing a corelation? Don’t. He was equally shocked about the whole incident too. 

 When he was asked to give his take on the incident, he said, “She’s the type of person who would have done a nude scene but would’ve wanted to make the decision on her own. “The fact a hacker did it was pretty bad but that’s the kind of field I’m in.” 

9) Paris Hilton was an easy target: Supermodel Paris Hilton is a regular on news headlines. Back in 2005, she hit the front page of news, but this time on security newsletters and not on gossip columns. Her phone was hacked and that too by a 17-year old teenager. No, he was not some genius hacker. He did it because he knew her dog’s name. 

 She set her “secret questions” as “What is your favorite pet’s name?”. Any person, who would know it, could have unlocked it. And when we are talking about Paris Hilton’s dog, the world knows it. Right? For those who don’t, it was Tinkerbell.  A number of celebs went through such online security hazards including Victoria Justice, Ariana Grande, Kate Upton and the list is pretty long. 

10) And sometimes they blame it on hackers! When it comes to celebrity, you can expect drama, a lot of drama. The example of singer Rita Ora totally fits the bill. She has 4.02 million followers on Twitter. It was nothing wrong on her part, when she expected a massive response for one of her tweets. But it appeared that her followers did not feel for her so strongly.  

 On Halloween, she tweeted that she would launch a new song if she got 1,00,000 RT for the tweet. But it got 2000 RTs. A furious Rita deleted the tweet and said her account was hacked. It seems her fans didn’t buy it.  Typical celebrity. She posted a tweet. Expected huge response. And when she did not get it, it hurt her celeb-ego. She deleted it and blamed it on some poor hackers!   Poor hackers! You must be smiling. Well that’s the idea behind the last addition. Have a wonderful Computer Security Day and secure all your online footprints.  


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