If anyone wants to know how skilled hackers are, both in terms of stealing personal data and corporate secrets, they only need to look at the cyberattack on the U.S. military in South Korea. The accounts of 16,000 people where hit. All associated with American military operations, these accounts should be impressively guarded.
The first reaction to the hacks was what the military reported:
No military or defense-related classified information was compromised because the affected system was a human resources recruiting system separate from our military network.
That it beside the point. Hackers have once again proven that they can bypass well-built security, almost at will.
Headlines like the one about the breach in Korea are not just read (or seen on the Internet and TV) with casual curiosity. People get to thinking about their bank accounts and credit cards. Company executives reflect on whether their data is well-protected, because it may barely be protected at all.
Where will the next big hack come? The firewalls the military has should be better than Target Corp.’s (NYSE: TGT) which suffered the most visible corporate hack of the past several months. What’s next? Individuals should be worried about their presence on social media. Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) would be the ultimate hack, with its 1.2 billion members who store everything on the service from credit cards to extremely personal information. Facebook almost certainly has among the best cybersecurity measures in the world. A hack on a company the size of Facebook might finally tip the public’s perception that absolutely no information stored online is safe.
Hacking has not gotten to a level of success that has triggered Americans to go back in droves to keeping paper records and making deposits at bank windows. Few people buy goods or services with cash. Corporations, the medical profession and government have not reverted to paper and cash either. While a reversal of how people and companies keep data and cash is not likely, anxiety about hacking makes it at least possible.