(CNN) — Computer hacking was once the realm of curious teenagers. It’s now the arena of government spies, professional thieves and soldiers of fortune.
Today, it’s all about the money. That’s why Chinese hackers broke into Lockheed Martin and stole the blueprints to the trillion-dollar F-35 fighter jet. It’s also why Russian hackers have sneaked into Western oil and gas companies for years.
The stakes are higher, too. In 2010, hackers slipped a “digital bomb” into the Nasdaq that nearly sabotaged the stock market. In 2012, Iran ruined 30,000 computers at Saudi oil producer Aramco.
And think of the immense (and yet undisclosed) damage from North Korea’s cyberattack on Sony Pictures last year. Computers were destroyed, executives’ embarrassing emails were exposed, and the entire movie studio was thrown into chaos.
It wasn’t always this way. Hacking actually has some pretty innocent and harmless beginnings.
Curiosity created the hacker
The whole concept of “hacking” sprouted from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology nearly 50 years ago. Computer science students there borrowed the term from a group of model train enthusiasts who “hacked” electric train tracks and switches in 1969 to improve performance.
These new hackers were already figuring out how to alter computer software and hardware to speed it up, even as the scientists at AT&T Bell Labs were developing UNIX, one of the world’s first major operating systems.
Hacking became the art of figuring out unique solutions. It takes an insatiable curiosity about how things work; hackers wanted to make technology work better, or differently. They were not inherently good or bad, just clever.
In that sense, the first generations of true hackers were “phreakers,” a bunch of American punks who toyed with the nation’s telephone system. In 1971, they discovered that if you whistle at a certain high-pitched tone, 2600-hertz, you could access AT&T’s long-distance switching system.
They would make international phone calls, just for the fun of it, to explore how the telephone network was set up.
This was low-fi stuff. The most famous phreaker, John Draper (aka “Cap’n Crunch) earned his nickname because he realized the toy whistle given away in cereal boxes emitted just the right tone. This trained engineer took that concept to the next level by building a custom “blue box” to make those free calls.
This surreptitious little box was such a novel idea that young engineers Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs started building and selling it themselves. These are the guys who would later go on to start Apple.
Wire fraud spiked, and the FBI cracked down on phreakers and their blue boxes. The laws didn’t quite fit, though. Kids were charged with making harassing phone calls and the like. But federal agents couldn’t halt this phenomenon.
A tech-savvy, inquisitive and slightly anti-authoritarian community had been born.
A new wave of hackers
The next generation came in the early 1980s, as people bought personal computers for their homes and hooked them up to the telephone network. The Web wasn’t yet alive, but computers could still talk to one another.
This was the golden age of hacking. These curious kids tapped into whatever computer system they could find just to explore. Some broke into computer networks at companies. Others told printers at hospitals hundreds of miles away to just spit out paper. And the first digital hangouts came into being. Hackers met on text-only bulletin board systems to talk about phreaking, share computer passwords and tips.
The 1983 movie “War Games” depicted this very thing, only the implications were disastrous. In it, a teenager in Washington state accidentally taps into a military computer and nearly brings the world to nuclear war. It’s no surprise, then, that the FBI was on high alert that year, and arrested six teenagers in Milwaukee — who called themselves the 414s, after their area code — when they tapped into the Los Alamos National Laboratory, a nuclear weapon research facility.
Nationwide fears led the U.S. Congress to pass the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in 1986. Breaking into computer systems was now a crime of its own.
The damage of hacking started getting more serious, too. In 1988, the government’s ARPAnet, the earliest version of the Internet, got jammed when a Cornell University graduate student, curious about the network’s size, created a self-replicating software worm that multiplied too quickly.
The next year, a few German hackers working for the Russian KGB were caught breaking into the Pentagon. In 1990, hacker Kevin Poulsen rigged a Los Angeles radio station’s phone system to win a Porsche, only to be arrested afterward.
The cat-and-mouse game between law enforcement and hackers continued throughout the 1990s. Some hacked for money. Russian mathematician Vladimir Levin was caught stealing $10 million from Citibank. Others did it for revenge. Tim Lloyd wiped the computers at Omega Engineering in New Jersey after he was fired.
But hacks were still more of an annoyance than anything devastating, though it was quickly becoming apparent that the potential was there. The stock market, hospitals, credit card transactions — everything was running on computers now. There was a bone-chilling moment when a ragtag group of hackers calling themselves L0pht testified before Congress in 1998 and said they could shut down the Internet in 30 minutes.
The danger was suddenly more real than ever.
From curiosity to criminal
The ethos was starting to change, too. Previously, hackers broke into computers and networks because they were curious and those tools were inaccessible. The Web changed that, putting all that stuff at everyone’s fingertips. Money became the driving force behind hacks, said C. Thomas, a member of L0pht who is known internationally as the hacker “Space Rogue.”
An unpatched bug in Windows could let a hacker enter a bank, or a foreign government office. Mafias and governments were willing to pay top dollar for this entry point. A totally different kind of black market started to grow.
The best proof came in 2003, when Microsoft started offering a $5 million bounty on hackers attacking Windows.
“It’s no longer a quest for information and knowledge by exploring networks. It’s about dollars,” Thomas said. “Researchers are no longer motivated to get stuff fixed. Now, they say, ‘I’m going to go looking for bugs to get a paycheck – and sell this bug to a government.’ ”
Loosely affiliated amateurs were replaced by well-paid, trained professionals. By the mid-2000s, hacking belonged to organized crime, governments and hacktivists.
First, crime: Hackers around the world wrote malicious software (malware) to hijack tens of thousands of computers, using their processing power to generate spam. They wrote banking trojans to steal website login credentials.
Hacking payment systems turned out to be insanely lucrative, too. Albert Gonzalez’s theft of 94 million credit cards from the company TJX in 2007 proved to be a precursor to later retailer data breaches, like Target, Home Depot and many more.
Then there’s government. When the United States wanted to sabotage the Iranian nuclear program in 2009, it hacked a development facility and unleashed the most dangerous computer virus the world has ever seen. Stuxnet caused the Iranian lab computers to spin centrifuges out of control.
This was unprecedented: a digital strike with extreme physical consequences.
Similarly, there’s proof that Russia used hackers to coordinate its attack on Georgia during a five-day war in 2008, taking out key news and government websites as tanks rolled into those specific cities.
Then there are hacktivists. The populist group Anonymous hacks into police departments to expose officer brutality and floods banks with garbage Internet traffic. A vigilante known as “The Jester” takes down Islamic jihadist websites.
What exists now is a tricky world. The White House gets hacked. Was it the Russian government or Russian nationalists acting on their own? Or freelance agents paid by the government? In the digital realm, attribution is extremely difficult.
Meanwhile, it’s easier than ever to become a hacker. Digital weapons go for mere dollars on easily accessible black markets online. Anonymity is a few clicks away with the right software. And there are high-paying jobs in defending companies like Google or JPMorgan Chase — or attacking them.
As a result, law enforcement tolerance for hacking has fallen to zero. In 1999, the hacker Space Rogue exposed how FAO Schwarz’s website was leaking consumer email addresses and forced the company to fix it. He was cheered. When Andrew Auernheimer (known as “weev”) did the same thing to AT&T in 2010, he spent more than a year in prison until his case was overturned on a technicality.
The days of mere curiosity are over.
Med informasjonstyveri på rise, det viser seg at banker og långivere nesten alltid kompensere sine kunder for bedragerisak. Imidlertid en full halv (52%) av finansinstitusjoner gjør det uten å gjennomføre noen form for undersøkelse i spørsmålet. I Vest-Europa er prisen 54%.
Kaspersky Lab, i samarbeid med B2B International, nylig gjennomført en global studie som viser at nesten en tredjedel av institusjonene vurdere implementering kostnadene ved sikkerhetssystemer være dyrere enn bare repaying skaden Internett-svindel til sine kunder.
Det er et tema som gjennomsyrer også mange organisasjoner som håndtere elektroniske betalinger: 28% av representantene for finansinstitusjoner og 32% av ansatte i nettbutikker som ble spurt er overbevist om at den totale skaden skyldes cybercrime, inkludert nedbetaling av stjålne penger, ikke ville overstiger kostnaden med å implementere riktig sikkerhetsløsninger.
Bare 19% av finansinstitusjoner og 7% av online firmaer sitere kostnaden for kompenserende kunden tap i topp tre mest alvorlige konsekvensene av cyber-svindel.
Men problemet er økende. Ifølge det Kaspersky Security Network, har nesten fire millioner brukere av Kaspersky Lab produkter møtt i 2013 med finansielle malware programvare å stjele deres penger (en økning på 18.6% sammenlignet med 2012). I desember 2013, har flere amerikanske banker mistet mer enn 200 millioner dollar på grunn av tap av personlig informasjon om sine kunder eller deres kredittkort. Den totale skaden er trolig mye høyere, firmaet bemerket, legger til at det er klart at fortsatt vekst av datakriminalitet irremediably føre til en situasjon der kostnadene for refundering som institusjonene betale vil være høyere enn beskyttelse av finansielle transaksjoner og kompensasjon budsjetter.
"Finansinstitusjoner bør ikke bare gi store summer i sine budsjetter tilbakebetale stjålet penger til sine kunder, men også å dekke kostnadene for registreringer av sine kunder. Det viktigste er at kunder, så når ofrene er tilbakebetalt raskt, kan det være drømmer før du bruker tjenestene til en bank som garantere at deres online-kontoer er trygge. Derfor er det bedre å forhindre skader og tap i stedet for å kompensere,"sa Martijn van Lom, CEO av Kaspersky Lab Benelux og ner kan redusere risikoen for Internett-svindel til et minimum. Dette betyr at ressursene som er øremerket for kompensasjon ville bli utgitt og kan brukes i utviklingen av selskapet. "
Et annet argument for bruk av spesialiserte løsninger er forsømmelse av klienter. En tidligere Kaspersky Lab-undersøkelse viser at 57% av brukerne ta (nesten) ingen hensyn til sikkerheten til sine elektroniske betalinger, fordi de tror at deres bank vil gjøre hva det tar. Dette, i sin tur øker risikoen for å bli målet for kriminelle.
You can use your smartphone to improve your personal financial awareness and to become more financially secure.
There are apps that can help you to manage your budget, keep up with business news, improve your fi-nancial literacy and detect scams.
BACK TO BLACK
You can use this budgeting app to set long-term goals and track your spending habits. Make a habit of adding a transaction right into your hand-held device while you are making your purchase. That way there is less chance you'll forget.
The Back to Black app helps you avoid spending more than you earn. You can set monthly spending limits for specific categories such as food, shelter, clothing and transportation. You will know exactly when you have reached your spending limit for the month. If your spending limit is not reasonable, you can modify the limit. Customize your budget to what you would like.
A pie chart shows your spending pattern. Coloured graphs tell you where your money is going each month. You can break down categories into subcategories. Touch the pie graph to see the breakdown.
What if you lose your phone? Do you lose your private information? Your personal financial details are protected by a four-digit pin code. You can also back up your data easily. With one tap you can email a backup to yourself.
The Back to Black app is available for Apple devices, including iPhone, iPod and iPad, from the iTunes app store. Note this app is not available for Android, BlackBerry or Windows Mobile, but there are dozens of other budgeting apps for tracking expenses.
For business news, consider using the Bloomberg or Bloomberg Radio+ apps. Both are free apps. Glance at the news headlines. Click on a story to read. Listen to a Bloomberg Radio report that is being streamed live while you are navigating to the Internet and browsing other websites on your device. You can download reports and later watch video off-line if you don't have access to Wi-Fi.
Do you follow particular stock prices or market indexes? On the Bloomberg Radio+ app, you can personalize the ticker by adding company symbols. Watch the up-to-date information stream across the bottom of your screen.
With the Bloomberg app, you can create a list of individual stocks that you follow regularly. Then, tap on a specific stock name and you can see news headlines related to that stock. Tap on a headline and read the full story.
You can also read Canadian business and personal finance stories on apps from The Star Phoenix, National Post and Globe investor.
The best way to prevent fraud is to recognize a scam when you see it after you've educated yourself on how it works on your Scam Detector app.
Scam Detector is an iPhone app in the App Store. An Android version for smartphones is available on the Google Play Store.
Sorin Mihailovici, an Edmonton-based journalist, was motivated to develop the Scam Detector app when a friend lost his life savings in a Nigerian scam. The app is regularly updated with the newest scams.
CSI GLOSSARY TERMS
If you want to improve your financial vocabulary to be able to read financial news reports, consider installing a free CSI app. Although the Canadian Securities Institute app is designed to promote training courses for financial advisers, the glossary is very useful for you as an investor who wants to learn more about your investments and better understand what your financial adviser is talking about.
The handy glossary tells you what acronyms mean. You can also look up the definitions of many words used in estate and income tax planning.
Terry McBride, a member of Advocis, works with Raymond James Ltd. The views of the author do not necessarily reflect those of RJL. Information is from sources believed reliable but cannot be guaranteed. This is provided for information only.
Securities offered through RJL, a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund. Insurance services offered through Raymond James Financial Planning Ltd., not a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund.