Hacking in the Mainstream


It is unlikely that you have not heard about someone being hacked recently.  Sony’s trouble surrounding The Interview this holiday season was soon followed by online gaming services for both Sony (the Playstation Network) and Microsoft (Xbox Live) going down on December 25.

Many speculate that the group behind the initial Sony hack, the “Guardians of Peace,” is from North Korea.  The group obtained private employee information in addition to several movies by Sony Pictures that had not yet been released, including Annie, To Write Love On Her Arms, and several others, and distributed them online.

The PSN and Xbox Live takedown was performed by a different group: “Lizard Squad.”

So what’s up with all of this hacking? Do a quick Google search for someone like “Lizard Squad,” and you will find that it is a “black hat hacking group.”

Black hat hackers, by definition, will hack for malicious reasons or personal gain.  The opposite kind is a “white hat” hacker, or someone who hacks ethically, for example, to test security systems so others know if they are secure. The party that is being hacked has given consent for this.

We often see hacking in movies as a lot of furious typing and exclaiming at the end, “I’m in.”  Cybersecurity, however, is much more serious than this.

Think about the stock exchange; everything is run on computers.  If a malicious, black hat hacker or hacker group were to take this down, just think of how many people would be affected.

We’ll probably continue to hear about hacking as technology continues to be integrated in our lives, and at the same time, we will probably need more people to perform white hat hacking.  From a security and safety standpoint, it makes sense to look for more people to protect technology users.

Code.org’s Hour of Code event, which some CB South students took part in this December, is one major push to promote Computer Science studies.  To learn more about the Hour of Code, visit www.code.org.