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25 Feb 2015

This Week in Getting Hacked: Jurassic Park Edition


After a few weeks off, it’s time for the glorious return of everyone’s favorite hacking-centric feature, This Week in Getting Hacked. We were off for a few weeks, because there were pretty much only a few major stories that dominated the hacking news market. And frankly, that’s boring to write about because variety is the spice of life. Don’t like it? COME AT ME, BRO.

On to the links!

-So last week, Edward Snowden released a few tidbits about the US and UK intelligence agencies—the NSA and GCHQ, respectively—hacking into Dutch SIM card maker Gemalto to access voice and data transmissions. Obviously, this is huge because Gemalto’s SIM cards are in basically every major carrier’s phones. Gemalto totally denies that this hacking affected any of their SIM cards and by proxy anybody using phones carrying those cards, but they did acknowledge that they had a few suspicious attacks in 2010 and 2011 which they probably attribute to the NSA and GCHQ.

-The FBI is offering $3 million for Russian hacker Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev, who is THE MASTERMIND behind the GameOver Zeus botnet, which allowed other hackers to steal nearly $100 million since 2011. Let the hunt begin.

unix system

-Every year, Google hosts their Pwnium event, where hackers from around the world come and try to exploit some bugs in Google’s products. Well, this year, things are changing: the day-long mega-event is no more, instead shifting to a year-long exploit-a-thon. Also, instead of the paltry $2.7 million that is distributed among the people who found exploits, the pot goes all the way up to “infinity”. You heard that right—infinity millions of dollars. Woooo! Time to hack!

-Ever wonder how often people attempt to hack the US government? Well, according to the US State Department, it averages to around thousands of times per day. Yep. Every day, the US gets bombarded with hackers trying to crack into our government to find out secrets like what’s inside Area 51, who really killed JFK, and whether or not Dick Cheney is an actual lizard. Or, you know, they try to hack us to gain control of the most powerful country on Earth. Either one.

-The Silicon Valley-ing of the super Hippie Burning Man Festival has come full swing. Hackers took advantage of a backdoor exploit to score front-of-the-line tickets. If that makes you angry, just know that karma exists and these dudes got caught. Now they’ll have to wait at the end of the line and trip on Molly like the rest of the peasants!

And finally…

-“It’s a Unix system, I know this.” Jurassic Park spurred the imagination of young kids around the world, and now you can know the same Unix system that Alex(?) hacked into to protect them from Velociraptors because it’s a game! Wooooo! Ah! Ah! Ah! Not so fast!

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