Hacks and Vulnerabilities as a Security Threat

From BigTechWiki
Jump to navigationJump to search
  • A hack at one of the big tech companies could “derail everyday life” or “even compromise public safety, in fundamental ways.” As AI increasingly matures, hacking is expected to get easier, stealthier and more widespread. It is estimated that hackers will increase their use of AI and automation in the years ahead and use AI to create intelligent malware programs and execute stealth attacks. More concerning, the proliferation of AI is thought to lead to an increase in the number of things that could be hacked.
  • Facebook exemplified how Big Tech emphasized company profit over cyber security. In 2019, Facebook spent $3.6 billion on safety and security on its platform, but just two years later announced plans to spend $10 billion on its Facebook Reality Labs project for the development of AR and VR products.
  • China was an early player in the hacking scene, breaking into the systems of Google and Yahoo as early as 2009. As early as 2009, China was able to hack into the systems of nearly 3 dozen companies, including Google, Yahoo and Northrop Grumman. At the time, China’s hack was described as one of the most extensive and far reaching campaigns of cyber espionage in U.S. history. China hacking of Google gave them access to private Gmail accounts. China used that access to snoop on Chinese human rights activists. Between 2011-2018, China accounted for more than 90% of the DOJ’s cases on economic espionage.[1]
  • Russia was behind the 2020 SolarWinds hack that penetrated 9 federal agencies, nearly 100 private companies and went undetected for months. Russia’s 2020 SolarWinds hack was described as “one of the most sophisticated and largest attacks in the past 5 years. The SolarWinds hack was thought to have infected the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which helped determine policy for internet-related issues, including setting standards and blocking imports and export of technology that was considered a national security risk. The SolarWinds hack had been underway for months before it was detected.[2]
  • North Korea was behind the WannaCry malware hacks that hit 300,000 computers in 150 nations. North Korea’s WannaCry attack resulted in billions of dollars of damage. The hack affected hospitals, businesses and banks across the world. North Korea also hacked Sony after they produced a movie satirizing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.[3]
  • Syria nearly crashed the U.S. stock market after they hacked the Twitter account of the Associated Press and claimed President Obama had been hurt in an explosion at the White House. A group called the Syrian Electronic Army claimed responsibility for the Associated Press Hack.[4]
  • Jeff Bezos’ phone was hacked through his WhatsApp app. The New York Times noted how the hack exposed the “vulnerabilities” of popular messaging apps “that attackers [could] exploit.” Facebook’s top policy official, Nick Clegg, “seemed to struggle when defending” WhatsApp after the Bezos hack. Clegg stammered through his response: “It sounds like something on the, you know, what they call the operating, the operating, the phone itself. It can't have been, it can't have been anything on the, when the message was sent in transit, because that's end-to-end encrypted on WhatsApp.”[5]
  • In 2018, a California man was able to break into people’s iCloud accounts and steal 620,000+ pictures, including nude photos of girls. The 40-year-old California man impersonated an Apple customer support technician in a socially engineered email campaign.[6]
  • In 2014, a 36-year-old Pennsylvania man phished more than 100 celebrities to gain access to their iCloud accounts and stole their nude photos. Celebrities affected by the hack included major stars like Rihanna and Jennifer Lawrence.[7]