Hackers With Attitude

shutterstock_103173653What do Ashley Madison and the British Pregnancy Advice Service have in common?

It’s nothing to do with sex, (although I can understand why you might think it is!). Give up?

Ashley Madison, as if you didn’t know, is a dating site. Well, maybe it’s a bit more than that. It describes itself as, “the most famous name in infidelity and married dating”. Basically, it’s aimed at people who want to have affairs. There, I’ve said it, (but not used it!). Honest.

Hackers, calling themselves ‘The Impact Team’ obtained the personal data of its customers and put many of these details on the internet. The hackers allegedly targeted the Ashley Madison website because they objected to its stated aims and as a protest over the charging of a ‘leavers fee’ to users to completely delete all their data.

The British Pregnancy Advice Service is a registered charity and the largest provider of abortion services in the UK. A hacker defaced the BPAS website and obtained the names, dates of birth, addresses and telephone numbers of about 9,900 people who had used the website. The hacker intended to publish these details, but was apprehended before he was able to do so.

The hacker targeted the British Pregnancy Advice Service website because he disagreed with abortion.

So, what Ashley Madison and the British Pregnancy Advice Service have in common is that they were both hacked by people who strongly disagreed with what they were doing.

Let’s think about what this tells us.

Hacking seems to be the world’s fastest growing hobby. What used to be something only a few nerdy men, (at least they always seemed to me to be men…), wearing hoodies knew how to do, now seems to be happening left, right and centre. (Don’t mention Carphone Warehouse).

Until very recently hacking and criminal gangs were synonymous, but now it seems some hackers are attempting to seize what they perceive to be the moral high ground.

This means that any organisation is at risk of being the victim of a hack attack by someone who has a sufficiently strong grudge against it and enough technical ‘know how’ to by-pass IT its security. Anyone come to mind?

 Where will it all end? Who knows?

What we do know is that no organisation can now safely assume it won’t be the victim of a hack attack, (successful or not as the case may be). That means every organisation, whatever its size, must take appropriate technical and organisational measures to minimise the risk of being the victim of a successful hack attack.

In other words, to take cybersecurity seriously. After all, any organisation that cares about its customers should care about their privacy.

Anyway, who wants to have the same thing in common with both Ashley Madison and the British Pregnancy Advice Service?

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