The big news of late is the hacking of Sony Pictures. Seems this evil deed was done by the country of North Korea, according to an FBI report today. Apparently, North Korea, or should I say their leader, Kim Jong-un, was very upset with Sony’s soon to be released comedy “The Interview,” which made light of North Korea and had a plot line where a couple of bungling Americans try to assassinate the leader. I guess they are not big on comedy in North Korea. All of this culminated with Sony pulling the movie from distribution when an overt threat was made to movie theatres where it would be shown. This will result in a huge financial loss for Sony.
This all sounds like a plot line for a movie, not real life. But this is the world we now live in with cybercrime. And everyone, businesses and individuals alike, must be concerned about the security of anything they are doing on a computer, especially one connected to the Internet. It is vital to take steps to protect yourself from an outside attack on your computer systems.
I know of what I speak, as I was also the victim of a recent hack job. I was merrily working away on my computer when all of a sudden, I could not open a file I was trying to access. That’s funny I thought. So I tried opening another. Same thing. At that point, I did what anyone with my limited technology intelligence level does and called our IT manager. His first question to me was, “Did you try rebooting your computer?” Oh yes, the standard first step in analyzing any computer problem – how could I forget. “No,” I said sheepishly. “Try that and get back to me if there is still a problem,” I was told.
So I did the reboot and thought that would take care of it, but alas that was not the case. The problems continued, so back to the IT department. Several hours of analysis later, they informed me that my computer had been infiltrated by some bad guys who had infected it with “ransomware.” The hackers were holding my files hostage in the hope I would pay them to get back access. Our IT guys even tracked it back to a “dark site” that was no longer operating. They said that the government was probably on their trail and they ran.
A few more hours and a new computer later, I was back in business thanks to the talent of our IT department. I can’t imagine what someone with my limited technology knowledge would do if they did not have similar help. And all of this happened in an environment where we have a diligent IT staff and virus protection software on all of our office computers. So the bad guys are always finding new ways to penetrate the defenses and sometimes they are successful. Fortunately, I had not written anything derogatory about North Korea.