Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Averting a Hack: Marketnews.ca Hits the Big Leagues

Actors on-screen often say they know they’ve hit the big leagues when they’re asked to appear on a popular late-time talk show like David Letterman or Jay Leno. In the Web world, perhaps that equivalent is when you get hacked.

About a month ago, the site for ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the company that manages many popular domain names, was hacked into. If that wasn’t a wake-up call to everyone that no one is immune in the web world, I don’t know what would be. It just reinforces how important Internet security is to any business. If you think you’re immune, you’re probably not. Take efforts and look into extra security measures with your web and hosting team, and always, always, always back up information to ensure that you’re safe in the event of an attack. While the hack might simply be a group of tech-savvy punks playing jokes on you, the reality is that they will come back for more; and each time, it could get worse.

Nevertheless, if reaching the big leagues online means that hackers target you, then our sister sites http://www.marketnews.ca/ and http://www.hereshow.ca/ have finally officially been initiated as worthy of a hacker’s time. We woke up this morning to a mocking redirect page that indicated the Marketnews and here's how websites had been “hacked”. Really, all they did was take over our homepages and redirect it to theirs. Ironically, we discovered that it happens to be by the same group of people that hacked into ICANN. They cleverly call themselves the Turkish Hacking Federation.

You never really understand how invasive a site hack can feel until it happens to you. What makes it worse is the ridicule the hackers often impose on not only you, but everyone that attempts to access your site. The message that appeared when you tried to access the Marketnews and here's how sites earlier this morning went something like: “Did you know you’ve been hacked? If not, you know now :) ” (Yes, the smiley face was included). I use past tense because we have managed to avert the crisis and move forward with efforts to prevent this from ever happening again. Unfortunately, anyone who attempted to access our Websites early this morning will have seen this message.

With that said, I may only be fueling the fire by adding to the attention and press that these punk hackers likely feed upon. But perhaps in doing so, they’ll become popular enough to want to start their own sites instead of hacking into everyone else’s.

Bookmark and Share


JET said...

These hackers are obviously talented. Just think of how successful they could be, establishing a security company, or a consulting firm to assist other organizations in making their sites bullet proof. It just seems such a waste of talent to use their energy for no good.

Marketnews - Christine Persaud said...

You are right, JET. It is sort of like the story of Frank Abagnale Jr. (who the movie Catch Me If You Can was modeled after) who did end up using his "conning" abilities for good in the end. Despite this, there will always be a bad guy for every good one.

Thanks for the comments.