After hacking last year to corporations like JP Morgan Chase, Sony Pictures or Ashley Madison, Kevin Roose piqued his curiosity. The news director of Fusion decided to challenge hackers to take control of their data.
His only condition was that, despite having the power to do so, they would not harm him of any kind. “I’m not a big company, but I still wanted to undergo a test to see how my security measures responded,” he said.
At all times Roose had control of the process. He enlisted the hackers himself, making sure they followed the rules of the game. He located them at DEFCON, the annual hacker conference held in Las Vegas, which he attended as a special envoy.
The result was expected: hackers accessed not only their data but their hardware as well. They did with the management of their bank accounts, social networks, and even their webcam. They ended their privacy without doing anything to prevent it. “Against a pair of world-class hackers my defenses were as flimsy as a cardboard shield against a missile,” Roose said.
Several methods were used for this purpose. The first of these is the so-called “social engineering”. It is about exploiting vulnerabilities in real humans, that is, cheating them simply. They took advantage of the fact that we usually share sensitive information on social networks without being aware of the potential danger it poses in the wrong hands.
Network privacy is far from a concern for too many millions of users, who share their entire life with anyone who wants to access it. To make matters worse, many companies possess our data without guaranteeing the proper privacy of them.
After cracking their personal data, they proceeded with phishing. Roose was deceived to accede to a false web from which they infected his computer with spyware. Once they had control of it, the hack began to march on wheels.
With all their passwords and data in their possession, hackers started playing with Roose. Taking photos with its own webcam and uploading them to a private server or sending you audio messages at all threatening were just a part of what you had to suffer.
Finally, Kevin Roose’s findings from the experience are very positive: “I’m glad I got hacked. Now I am aware of the weak points of my computer security and I know how to fix them. “DEFCON hackers helped the valiant volunteer clean his computer of all the spyware introduced into it. Darren Roose was so convinced of the usefulness of his initiative that the full narrative can be found on his blog.
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