They really really do...

They really really do...

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Hacking Controversy

Now this is interesting as it is a good place to start when trying to understand what is going on with the hacking which has been in the news lately.

When Julian Assange was the topic of mass controversy in the news last year for releasing classified US Government documents, what was the centre of the discussion - the fact that he dared obtain and post them and how he was immoral for doing so or the actual content of the documents published ?
It was, of course, the former.

This bring me on to Lulzsec (Lulz Security). In the last few months, Lulzsec have been 'hacking' into many large corporations and releasing data which they obtain.
One of the first and most notable was that of Sony's Playstation Network. Lulzsec managed to get into Sony's systems and compromise millions of user accounts - ultimately forcing Sony to close down the PSN temporarily and face huge public embarrassment as well as profit loss.

The point however is, Sony is a massive corporation which almost all of us have used. Many of us trust this company to store our personal information with integrity and security - and its outdated security breaks that trust. This can be said for all of the corporations which Lulzsec have breached. Shouldn't we be glad that security breaches are being exploited and making the companies focus on fixing them to further protect our sensitive data in the future of this digital age?

Apparently not.

The way I see it is that it raises a moral question for governments, in particular US and UK, of how to handle this Robin Hood approach:

1.) They let Lulzsec continue to exploit these massive corporations since they aren't really abusing any individual user's data - this isn't their agenda, but rather the security of the company as a whole. This means the companies will need to pay out millions of dollars to fix and update their security so it is sustainable for the future.

2.)Instead of allowing the companies to use their profits as stated in point 1, the governments pay out millions of taxpayers money to fund law enforcement agencies to apprehend the Lulzsec group, leaving the security of these companies still outdated and our information insecure.

See here for the approach which was ultimately taken. I don't see how this can be justified, call it vigilantism or hacking - the consequences of what will happen if it is not supported are far greater.

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