Today’s modern world is obsessed with information – so when it all goes wrong and information is compromised, lost or stolen, the effects can be disastrous!
Here’s a run-through of five recent information-related stories:
In June 2013, American computer specialist and former CIA contractor Edward Snowden was responsible for an information leak of unprecedented magnitude.
The former National Security Agency contractor believed that the general public was being deceived as to the extent of Government surveillance. Responsible for the most significant leak in U.S. political history, Snowden caused global havoc when he divulged top-secret security information to media outlets in various countries.
Currently residing in Russia, where he was offered political asylum, the debate surrounding Snowden’s status as a hero or traitor continues…
Private Manning, who was working in Afghanistan as an information analyst for the US army, was horrified by some of the U.S. Army’s actions in the Iraq war and the war in Afghanistan and decided that such a leak was morally justified. Her controversial actions were considered reckless and dangerous by some, but valiant and ethical by others.
In 2013 Manning was sentenced to a 35 year prison sentence for crimes relating to the leaks. However, she has also been awarded a People’s Choice Award, the Sean MacBride Peace Prize, a Whistleblower preis and the Sam Adams Award for her actions.
“God knows what happens now. Hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms… I want people to see the truth… because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.” From online chat, attributed to Manning.
In July 2012, American software engineer Cody Brocious demonstrated to the world that with a simple, home-made device costing a mere $50 to produce, he was able to semi-reliably open electronic door locks made by the company Onity.
Since Onity provides locks for anywhere between four to five million hotel rooms worldwide, this was rather alarming. Hotel theft is already a major issue, and the hack, which is detailed on Brocious’ website, threatens to exacerbate it still further.
In April 2011, The PlayStation Network was temporarily shut down after Sony discovered a massive security failure that led to the theft of data – including sensitive credit card information – from about 100 million accounts.
The outage lasted 24 days with parts of the network eventually being restored on May 14. The cost of the outage, as stated by Sony on May 23, 2011, was $171 million. And, in January 2013, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe was fined an additional $396,100 in relation to the breach, with UK authorities claiming that the attack could have been prevented.
In October 2013, Adobe reported that a cyber-attack on its website had resulted in 2.9 million customers’ private data being stolen. However, the number of customers affected was quickly scaled up, with the company eventually admitting that the security of at least 38 million accounts had been breached.
Those responsible stole in addition customers’ data, parts of source code to many of the company’s programs, including popular picture-editing program Photoshop.
It’s still uncertain what the hackers plan to do with the data, but it’s known that a data breach like this one can lead to identity theft and other financial crime.