You may have, by now, heard about the television public service alert system that was hacked, probably because the TV station’s emergency broadcasting system computer was connected to the Internet, and used to broadcast an alert about zombies. Some think that crime was harmless, even funny…a prank. But I beg to differ.
While the perpetrator could have been a lone hacker wanting to show off for his friends; hackers, cyber terrorists, and other cyber criminals are known to run a test attack, usually small and somewhat harmless, to gather intelligence before they make a larger, more damaging, hit at a later time. This event could have been just that. I tend to lean toward the latter scenario…and hope that it’s the first one.
Even if this was a harmless prank, it has given the bad guys…cyber terrorists that is, an idea that could be used to assist in the success of another, simultaneous, attack. For example, if a cyber terrorist group were about to take down a city’s power grid, they might send a fake TV public service alert warning that the power outage about to happen, was planned, and that there is no emergency. That alert would allow them more time to commit whatever crime they wanted before the public and the police would realize there was an attack on the power grid taking place. Substitute any large-scale attack, cyber or not, into this scenario; and you can see the potential for using a fake emergency alert message.
Call me paranoid, but remember, just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean the bad guys aren’t going to do bad things to us.
Reference: CNET.com News article
Be very careful…it’s dangerous out there.
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