Hackers: doing more harm than good

Technology has become so integrated into our modern world that as a result we rely on it on a daily basis just to accomplish the simplest of tasks, from completing homework or work on the job to even just making purchases.

Unfortunately, that means that hackers have become an even bigger threat because of this.

Hackers are experienced individuals who utilize computers to gain unauthorized access to data, which in theory could even the playing field between powerful companies and consumers. Some groups of hackers claim to be freedom fighters of sorts, carrying out these attacks on companies to raise awareness of their flaws and mistreatment of their customers.

While these groups may claim to be freedom fighters out for the greater good, they’ve proven to be nothing but an annoyance and a threat.

Sony Entertainment’s Playstation Network and Microsoft’s Xbox Live Network were both brought down over the holiday season by a hacker group calling themselves Lizard Squad. The group claims they initially intended to raise awareness of the faults in the companies, particularly in their online securities.

Their weapon of choice was a Distributed Denial of Service, which overloads servers with multiple requests. In spite of multiple warnings from Lizard Squad, Sony and Microsoft failed to prevent the attacks.

The attacks undoubtedly inconvenienced millions of Sony and Microsoft customers and it is safe to say no one was happy about the disturbance. No noticeable good came out of this attack at all.

Sony fell victim to a much higher profile and highly publicized attack in November. North Korea was reportedly behind the attack, funding a hacker group who call themselves the Guardians of Peace.

The group behind the Sony breach acquired a substantial amount of data from the company including, but not limited to, personal information about Sony employees, executive salaries and even unreleased Sony films. All acquired data was leaked onto the internet for all to see.

These recent hacks have shown little sign of any help for the general public. Some Americans even took the Sony hack as an act of aggression against the United States.

This is just the beginning as hackers are getting smarter and more of a serious threat.

We have a lot to worry about considering a lot of us store very personal information online, on our computers and even cell phones, all of which are up for grabs for a skilled hacker. It raises cause for concern in the minds of many.

On the one hand, these hacker groups have the capability to do some real good in the world and become a voice of the people. If these groups worked together with the general population at large they could help influence companies to carry out policies that work in the consumers’ favor. However, the potential chaotic power of these groups is frightening to say the least.