I think it was the Donald who claimed that there is – or is not, hard to keep up – a fat hacker sitting somewhere in Russia who concentrates on disrupting things. Sometimes this fat hacker is good, when he or she hacks other people, sometimes bad. Either way, the hacker is clearly fat, because he or she spends all their time sitting in front of a computer, gaining access to different websites and mail accounts and sending the results either to WikiLeaks (good for the big D) or the press (bad for the big D).
I have great difficulty following some of these ideas. That the hacker is fat really throws me; is this a sort of body-shaming attack to try to draw this person out? Challenge their ego by calling them fat, or lazy, stupid or under-educated? It might work with some criminals – according to many TV shows – but in real life? Perhaps these people are as intelligent as Doctor Sheldon Cooper, and equally insensitive to sarcasm or personal insults. And are the hackers really sitting somewhere in Russia? I get to see about thirty attempts to breach this website every single day, either by a forced attack or attempting to log in with a guessed-at name and password (no, I dumped admin right at the start and, really, who uses test as an administrator’s name these days?). Each time I get to see the IP and name of the server being used; sometimes it is France, or Pakistan, or Houston, Texas. I’m sure it would be possible to trace back through these servers and find the origin of these attempts. But I am an ordinary person, no specialist. That’s a job for the professionals, when they’re not bickering about authority or defending themselves against their future boss – or past boss, or potential boss, or one or both political parties. Do they even have time to do their work?
Photo Source: Jared Tarbell – Creative Commons
Aside from the WikiLeaks rubbish – a mass of paperwork hacked which told us nothing useful and contained, as far as I can see, nothing along the lines of a smoking gun whatsoever – most attempts to gain access to a site are either to use it as a forwarding post for commercial purposes, or to gain data stored on the server, for commercial purposes. Everyone is out to make money, very few are in it for transparency or Freedom of Information reasons, not even WikiLeaks. They want to earn, and that can mean taking information out and sharing it – where all these addresses for spam mails come from – or putting stuff on and claiming money to take it off again.
Ransom is the new way to make money, with so many insecure servers around the world, and so much depending on a site which functions, or on a site which contains all the company information there is. A small piece of code which blocks the site, or which threatens to destroy its contents, and a complete multi-national concern could be at the mercy of that fat hacker – who is probably not fat, and not in Russia. Although, breaking and entering for the information contained is still quite popular, even for married couples in Italy!
There is no one fat hacker, and there is no one country which is responsible for hacking across the board. They come from all walks of life and all countries. They have different ideals and plans, mostly to do with making money, sometimes with a more political agenda. But if we concentrate on this idea of the fat Russian, we’re going to lose our way. Rather, we ought to concentrate on ensuring that our servers are secure – or as secure as is possible – and taking the malicious hackers out of service through judicial means. Prevention as much as anything, and then systems in place which trace and obliterate. Words are all fine and good, but action speaks louder.
- Viktoria Michaelis.