HBO recently suffered a massive cyberattack, with hackers stealing 1.5 terabytes of data from inside its network, including upcoming episodes of shows such as Ballers and Room 104. But the crown jewel of the hack wasn’t even a video, it was the script to this Sunday’s episode of the wildly popular HBO series Game of Thrones.
The network’s chairman and chief executive, Richard Plepler, confirmed the hack and called the recovery efforts “nothing short of herculean”.
He also said something more important, something that many people overlooked: “The problem before us is unfortunately all too familiar in the world we now find ourselves a part of.”
We often think of major data hacks as individual unrelated incidents, but when we step back and look at cybercrime as a whole, some very disturbing trends start to emerge. Last year alone, companies and individuals were targeted by an estimated 90 million cyberattacks globally — that’s more than 12 attacks per second. Just last month, Lloyd’s of London warned that a major global cyberattack could trigger more than $65 billion of economic losses. For comparison, the 1999 Sydney hailstorm — the most expensive natural disaster in Australian history — caused about $2.3bn in total damage.
Over the past decade, we’ve seen a significant evolution in the scale and sophistication of hacker organisations, along with the types of businesses they target. Historically, hackers tended to go where the money was, primarily targeting banks, merchants, retailers and other organisations that directly handled financial information and transactions, but as these organisations improved their security standards and began locking down their systems, hackers started looking for easier targets.
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If Game of Thrones has taught us anything, it’s that enemies will always try to find and exploit our biggest weaknesses, be they physical, mental or in this case digital. And just as in the hit HBO show, our goal isn’t to make our defences impenetrable, it’s to make them strong enough that hackers simply move on to easier targets.
Source: The Australian