By Nishat Khan
The recent hacking of Sony Corporation has America shocked. Not just because of the information that was leaked, but also because Sony was even hacked in the first place. However, the scariest part is not that hackers exposed information about a new Ghostbusters movie, or that they leaked Channing Tatum’s emails that were sent to a few of his buddies. The scariest part was how easy it was to hack one of the largest companies.
Many leaked documents of celebrities’ private information such as social security numbers show that some of the most important things in people’s lives were kept in unencrypted files. It doesn’t take a computer genius to know how to hack and retrieve files such as this, with Sony’s weak cyber security system. All it takes is a little know-how about code and a little practice. Either that, or you could have easy access to almost everything Sony has.
Employees nowadays are said to have a large amount of access to sensitive files because companies are trying to cut down on costs. According to research conducted by Ponemon Institute, 71% of employees say that they have access to data they shouldn’t see. Simply retrieving an employee’s username and password is enough to take down an entire company.
In a different survey conducted by Trustwave, a cyber security firm, 18% of companies don’t routinely perform “penetration tests,” which helps companies search for any holes in their system. This hack has taught companies a valuable lesson: a company isn’t totally secure with just good wishes from grandmothers or a strong firewall system. If you want to keep your company safe, you have to legitimately protect it, meaning you don’t give sensitive information to employees.
All of this is bad– really bad. However, Sony’s anxiety isn’t about to end here. According to CNN, the hackers, who call themselves “The Guardians of Peace,” have promised a “Christmas gift.” On a website, the hackers said that “[t]he gift will be larger quantities of data. And it will be more interesting. The gift will surely give you much more pleasure and put Sony Pictures into the worst state.” As of now, the files have been deleted off the website. The actual identity of the hackers has yet to be determined, but security researchers are suggesting North Korea is the culprit due to similarities in Sony’s hack and the attack on South Korean banks, as well as their apparent disgust towards the new film starring James Franco and Seth Rogen, The Interview.
The hacks are slowly shedding a bad light on both Sony’s and celebrity’s reputations. It not only questions the security of Sony, but also the security of the Internet in general. As of now, companies should beef up their security systems until the hackers are caught and brought to justice. In addition to scared comments, many consumers also have tons of questions about the future. Will even juicier news be released? Will Sony itself pull out of the entertainment game altogether? Will the hackers’ identities be revealed? Is the information that consumers put online in jeopardy?There is no way to tell until it actually happens.