Will These New Hacker Targets Affect Your Future Safety?
There’s no doubt that when most of us think of hackers, we envision someone sitting behind a computer and doing their best to invade other systems and networks using any manner of tools. It is true that hackers continue their attempts to breach the security in place at many online locations.
In fact, hackers are attempting phishing attacks targeting web hosting servers more than ever before. Of all of the phishing attacks (which attempt to obtain personal information in the form of bank account or social security numbers) occurring around the world last year, almost half of these were directed at shared web hosting servers.
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But phishing is an old technique, if still a very effective one. This means that hackers have had much time to perfect their craft. So why would they want to go anywhere else when a shared web host has all the sensitive data, plus all of the resources they need to carry out additional attacks?
The frightening reality is that hackers may very soon be attacking offline targets, if they aren’t already.
In this type of attack, hackers attempt to get money from 911 call centers, hospitals and similar organizations by threatening to overload their systems, rendering them temporarily inoperable if the demanded money isn’t received. VoIP extortion attacks have been in existence since 2010.
The structure of these attacks, similar to DDOS attacks which take web sites offline, present a sinister threat to public services and those who rely on them for their continued health and well being. In the VoIP extortion scenario, a disabled network cannot make or receive emergency calls.
For the successful hacker, a VoIP extortion exploit can see amounts as high as $5000 being paid from an organization to stop the attack on their communication systems. However, some solutions have been suggested to thwart VoIP extortion, such as the attachment of some kind of a signature to an outgoing call that would require verification before being allowed to be connected. While a potentially very effective idea, the FCC has been reported as saying that could still be two or more years away from becoming a reality.
All of Our Digital Items Could Be Threatened
Most people cannot imagine not being in control of the devices they use every day, such as a car or the key-free locks on their homes. But this is exactly what some hackers are now targeting. Because of the fact that so much of the items we use are able to be controlled remotely, hackers can easily get the information necessary to hijack these items.
Vehicle safety can be greatly impaired when just one digital aspect of that vehicle becomes hijacked. Imagine a car whose collision warning system is hijacked, or one whose anti-lock brakes no longer work due to a hack.
A smart home, where everything from a refrigerator to the heating system could be computerized is something hackers can also get hold of, causing hundreds of dollars in food spoilage to occur, or even light bulbs that are internet-connected to explode. While seemingly humorous to a hacker, these events can cause serious repercussions for victims. Even more sinister are the possibilities for a hacker who gains access to an implanted medical device.
Experts have said that even though we have been trying to stop hacker attacks targeting web browsers, we have yet to be able to do this. So how we could possibly be able to stop a hacker attack on the cruise control system of a vehicle or other device is still completely unknown. It has been said that something must be done to consider the potential solutions now, before more items come on the market for hackers to attack.
Guest author Jodi Grant writes on a variety of topics related to technology. She helps consumers understand the various types of internet service available to them and how each technology can impact them from reaching their goals.