The Sony PlayStation Network hack apparently exposed personal information, including credit card data, for 77 million people. It is a hint of things to come.
The PlayStation hack shows one thing: crooks can potentially get into nearly any system, from Gmail to corporate websites. Security software has not kept up with the ingenuity of criminals. The difficulty of protecting servers, PC’s, mobile devices, and networks is made more complex by the fact that attacks can come from anywhere in the word. A network in the US can be hacked by engineers in North Korea. Tracking down offenders often means spreading a global net.
‘It’s not a really a surprise,” says Tim Brown, senior vice president and chief security architect, CA Technologies, of the PlayStation hack in an interview. “It was just a matter of time. Each one of those people (gamers) has valuable information that is useful and can be monetized.”
Computer security is becoming a pressing issue for companies and consumers alike. Thieves broke into the network of retailer TJX in 2007 and stole 94 million credit card numbers and transaction details. The Epsilon hack in April exposed data from Citibank, Chase, Capital One, Walgreens, Target, Best Buy, Tivo, TD Ameritrade, and Verizon. It is not clear how many people were affected but the breach was big enough that it was disclosed to the public.
It is not difficult to choose which networks are likely to be targeted next. They will be large, with subscriber bases in the tens – if not hundreds – of millions of people. Those subscribers will have provided data which is commercially useful – credit cards, addresses, purchasing habits, details about daily activities, large lists of friends and relatives. The networks which will be targeted will almost certainly have multiple points of public access which are vulnerable to attack. Twenty-five million people are on Skype at any given moment. Hundreds of thousands of people are looking at merchandise and making bids on eBay . Maybe these networks need to be as secure as Top Secret networks at the Pentagon.
24/7 Wall St. looked a dozens of large networks, all of which serve consumers worldwide. We considered which ones would be most attractive to hackers because of the amount of data available to a sophisticated hacker. We also looked at the types of networks that have been hacked in the past as a clue to which could be most accessible in the future.
“These are really some of the next targets,” Brown said of networks such as Facebook and the App store. ” All enterprises need to take that very seriously. You have credit card information as the currency of today (for crooks). Social data may be the currency of tomorrow. “
This is the 24/7 Wall St list of the ten huge networks hackers will target next.