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Hacking: A Threat to Technology

In this day and age, there are many different types of technology that can be used in many different ways throughout the practice of law.  With these new technologies, however, also comes new risks and dangers of things like being losing information.  In my post for today I’d like to take a look at one website that we’ve been using and that is used by professionals all over the world, LinkedIn, and discuss how it recently fell prey to one of the new risks that come with new forms of technology for the second time.

On June 5, 2012 the social networking website LinkedIn was hacked and nearly 6.5 million user accounts were stolen by Russian cybercriminals and were posted to an online forum in Russia.  The owners of these hacked accounts were no longer able to gain access to their LinkedIn accounts, prompting the website to take action.  LinkedIn responded by saying that they had invalidated all of the accounts that they believed had been compromised and by emailing those members who had been affected and telling them that they needed to register new passwords.  LinkedIn also added a pivotal layer of security that makes the jumbled text of encoded passwords in its databases harder to decode.

This past May, LinkedIn once again began to feel the effects of the 2012 hacking, with online hackers now advertising that they are selling the account information to over 100 million LinkedIn user accounts that have been sourced from the 2012 attack.  As with before, LinkedIn is once again taking steps to try and help people to better secure their passwords and other information contained within their accounts.  One piece of advice now being offered to those affected as well as others is to change your password and add something called two-factor authentication, which requires a text message every time you sign in from a new computer.  After once again invalidating all account passwords believed to be associated with the attack, computer security experts are wondering why it took so long for LinkedIn to figure out what happened to their own company computers.

The threat of hacking is something I had never really considered until hearing news about the LinkedIn hack and other major network hacks that have occurred recently, such as the attack on the Play Station Network.  While I myself am unsure as to how the hacking process works, the news leaves me with many questions.  What are other things that I can do to better protect my different account information and passwords?  Will websites ever be fully protected from hacking?  Do these websites face any sort of legal repercussions for being hacked and losing this information?  These questions may have some answers to them at this point, but as technology changes overtime, I feel that the answers to those questions will as well.

-Matthew Gioello