South Korea, another data breach. How is changing the hacking world?

Pierluigi Paganini July 30, 2012

Browsing the internet is easy to find information regarding date breach by hackers against large companies that fail to protect their facilities exposing the information of their customers and employees.

Yesterday Anonymous group has released more than 400K record of the Australian AAPT company stolen during a recent attack, meanwhile this morning I read about another clamorous attack against KT Corp., South Korea’s No. 2 wireless service provider.

The South Korean provider has announced that millions of mobile phone subscribers data were hacked, according the law enforcement the responsible of the attack are two hackers that stolen about 8.7 million KT customers, more that 50% of total clients of the  KT company, but it’s not first time that company is attacked because it declared that had blocked many further illegal access to data starting from February.

The company is not alone in fact in November Nexon Korea Corp was hacked, more than 13 million subscribers’ s data leaked, and last year the data of more of 35 million users from SK Comms service provider were stolen.

The official communication of the company states:

“We deeply apologize for worrying you,” KT said in a statement.

Who is behind all this? How is changed the hacking world?

The figure of hacker is profoundly changed, in many cases we face with professionals that use their knowledge not for passion but exclusively for money, due this reason governments and cybercrime have demonstrated an increasing interest in this mysterious experts.

In the cybercrime sector new waves of cyber mercenaries is supporting criminal activities, in many case we have also introduced the concept of “crime to crime” (C2C), a model in which new form of cyber criminals provide technological services to common crime, a dangerous alliance with unpredictable consequences.

The new generation of hackers come from East Europe or Asia Pac, country where workers live with 100 USD per month meanwhile this young experts earn several thousands of dollars per day involving their capabilities in cyber crimes often unpunished.

Same attentions is reserved by governments, we are living in the “cyber war era”, hackers represent new soldiers and the attacks are made using bit instead of bullets. In this scenario the number of cyber attacks state sponsored is increased in impressive way, governments all around the world are recruiting hackers to protect their cyberspace and also to prepare new powerful attacks. The China is one of the most advanced country in this sense, its governments is investing in the creation of new cyber army promoting specific plans to support the constitution of cyber units to engage in the attacks.

The same attacks discussed in the first part of the posts are maybe related to cyber warfare operation, don’t forget that South Korea is considered a strategic target  for China and also North Korea due its relationship with western governments.

To confirm the high interest of Governments is hacking discipline is the news that National Security Agency Director General Keith B. Alexander addressed the attendees of the Defcon hacker conference in Las Vegas on Friday and asked for their help to secure cyberspace.

“This is the world’s best cybersecurity community,” said Gen. Alexander, who also heads the U.S. Cyber Command. “In this room right here is the talent our nation needs to secure cyberspace.”

The message is clear, the hackers must be considered a National resource,  imagine how much is changed the consideration since the first 80’s.

Hackers have a key role in the cyber strategies for homeland security and must be employed also in private industry to protect national business.

Alexander remarked also the importance of awareness on the cyber security, the cyber war is not only a game for governments but has a dramatic impact on the economy and on the final citizen, hackers are right people to spread information on the subject:

 “You know that we can protect networks and have civil liberties and privacy; and you can help us get there.”

During the Aspen Security Forum conference on Thursday, Gen. Alexander revealed that there’s been a 17 times increase in cyberattacks against U.S. infrastructure between 2009 and 2011 that’s why the official added:

“Sometimes you guys get a bad rap,” he said. “From my perspective, what you’re doing to figure out vulnerabilities in our systems is great. We have to discover and fix those. You guys hold the line,”

US, Israel, China, Russia all countries with a common intent, maintain their control over the cyberspace being prepared to cyber operations, both offensive and defensive, a goal possible with the creation of new cyber army composed by trained personnel and also hackers … we are facing with a call to cyber army.

Pierluigi Paganini



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