Thursday, May 5, 2011

Spending most our lives livin' in a Hacker's Paradise

I guess you already know that I haven’t been playing EQ2 recently. Or come to think of it, any SoE game. Playing my Playstation3 hasn’t been an issue as I have never hooked up to the net on it. So, what to think/say about the SoE/Sony hack fun recently? I’m not so sure I can say anything that hasn’t already been said, especially on sites like EQ2Flames where they have covered the sensible logical analytical approach to understanding the issue to plain old abuse of others whilst they try and understand the issue. I do know I am missing playing the game and that surprised me. Quite a bit actually. So, I got to thinking about why I miss it so much and it obviously isn’t my need to play in the Velious expansion as I dislike it and won’t be heading there again unless forced. Even if I wanted to, I am so far behind my guildies in respect of equipment/adornments/faction armour etc that the slog to catch up would be arduous indeed. I spoke to my nine year old daughter about this subject the other night when I found her crying in bed because she hasn’t been able to log in to Free Realms since the hack. She told me she missed seeing her friends and simply exploring. “No other game I like lets me wander round another world exploring”, oh, she also added “and Bin Weevils is rubbish”.

Part of it is obviously addiction. It’s what we are used to doing with our time and when that is taken away not through a choice of our own, it smarts a bit. You actually can physically miss and for want of a better word ‘ache’ for what you are missing. I haven’t quite got to that stage with EQ2, I simply miss playing, especially meetin up with my Bro. I haven’t been spending my time yearning to play and have found other stuff to do quite easily. It would just be nice to go smash a few mobs with Merecraft again.

So, anything else to say about the SoE thing? I guess one thing I would like to say is I’m getting a little fed up of the moaners. I am fed up of them moaning that SoE is crap, they should have done more, etc etc. Yeah, Sony dropped the ball. They should have had better protection in place. But, the real offenders? Those logging in and placing their personal details on a server thousands of miles away under trust. Trusting that they won’t accidentally send your info to a marketing company, trusting they won’t get hacked, trusting they don’t piss off the one client who has already developed a string of deadly computer viruses, trusting they treat their staff well so one particularly clever but pissed off employee does not ruin or steal everything. I guess the point I am trying to make is that when you put your data on the internet, wherever it may be, Ebay, Amazon, Easyjet, Financial Times registration, it really matters not. Anywhere you have placed your information on the net is a vulnerability.

Yes, Sony should have had better security in place, but even if they did, would this have stopped the attack? Maybe, maybe not. Our subs every month state on our behalf that we think Sony should at least tried and had those measures in place, but they did not. When you have folks who can hack in to the Pentagon (this place gets over 100 malicious attacks a day) or the Space Program of course there are going to be those with the know how to hack pretty much anywhere they choose. We really know too little about it to comment on that, but if someone wanted to do what has happened to Sony, I’m pretty sure they would have done so without too much trouble with or without the new security. We don’t even know why. If it was a simple crime, hacking for credit and personal info then it could have been anyone. If it was a revenge attack it’s likely to be an employee or customer of theirs. If it was a simple crime, maybe the enhanced security would have meant they moved on to our neighbours instead (just like the effect the alarm box has on your house), but if it was a planned, ordered or a revenge attack then nothing, not even new security would have helped. Revenge will have been obtained somehow no matter the security.

Whatever the reasons, whatever the ‘what ifs’, I personally believe this is unavoidable if you operate on the net. At some point your information IS going to get stolen. It may have already been stolen and just be sitting there unused. When the 7/7 attacks took place in the UK, MI5 raided all current suspects they were trailing. One property they searched had a filing cabinet in it with over 37,000 credit card details there including supporting documentation ready for use. The offenders had used just a couple of them to purchase camping equipment. The information had been gained from phishing. Look at the picture below.

This is just a random one I pulled off the net, but I have a hundred other examples much much worse than this one in my work folder. Some forums even have the cards, how long they have been stolen, the credit limits, types of card, advice on which cash points to use, batches of thousands of cards each split in to type, and so so much more. The point I am trying to make here is that your info’s on the net, get ready to cancel your cards at some point. It’s that simple. You should also stay on top of your credit rating. It is so easy to steal some ones identity then start to build up a wealth of debt with it and the actual person never even knows until they try to get a loan or mortgage.

Check out the below video from one of my heroes in my industry, native New Yorker Jeffrey Robinson. It really hammers the point home about how folks are willing to put information out there that they would not be happy to tell someone in the street. Interesting stuff.

Anyhow, what’s done is done and currently I’m hoping that EQ2 is not going to be offline for too long. I miss hanging with my Bro, flying my griffon, completing old questlines.

Be well.


  1. I'm looking forwards to getting back in-game too! The thing that annoyed me about the Sony hack was it took them so long to admit to it and inform people that their details were compromised.

  2. I agree mate and that's something I have failed to mention here. Prompt communication following any incident like this is key, absolutely so.

    We have to accept that things likt this happen when we work on the net, but to not have been told for a week or more is unforgivable.

  3. Love the Stevie Wonder title reference & the blog Pimpjuice!!

    Your ability to verbalize & communicate your rational & intelligent thoughts are spot on as usual.
    I've been talking at work quite abit w/friends recently Bro & I'm come to the conclusion that mankind either isn't inherently equipped or simply refuses to adapt to the use of technology as a means of advancement of the species.

    We take things that can be used to make life easier for everyone & find every possible way to abuse it for selfish gains that benefit absolutely noone (other than the perpetrators & this is debatable) in the long and/or short run.

    The Hack, when I step back & attempt to look at it objectively is senseless, I just can't, no matter how hard I try, see the benefit of doing what was done by the hackers.
    Knowing your background I'd really appreciate If you would chime in on what I'm sure I'm missing.

    Very sorry to hear of your daughter & how Freerealms is affecting her fun, I hope It's up & she's enjoying herself very soon!!!

  4. Jahf, assuming there is no political motivation for the hack, credit card details along with a name and address will sell for around 50 cents apparently. When you have stolen 100 million credit card details you only need a few to make it worth while.

    I agree that its not necesarily the technology at fault, but how we use it. The system can be as secure as you like, but when over 50% of passwords remain the phrases "password" or "secret" then people are asking for trouble.

  5. Wow...... I had no idea you'd sell the info for cash & you're right again, at .50 a pop that's ALOT of scrilla!

  6. Thanks for your comments guys.

    Yeah, that's what those forums are for, the sale of card details and indeed simply just personal information sometimes. Some forums even do the credit rating on the 'persona' so you know how much you can borrow in loans etc in their name. It's a dark and dirty industry mate.

    The advancement of technology and man's ability to turn that to a cancer that eats away at our civilisation is exemplified no more so than with the research that Oppenheimer carried out.

    Technology = amazing opportunity + mankind = Disaster

  7. In the interest of being correct and not placing full reposnibility at the door of one man, I should say , "those involved in the Manhattan Project".

    Oh, and Jahf, I forgot to say..Hey! Missed you bud. Hope to speak soon. Look after yourself!