Jim Carroll said he doesn’t feel sorry for companies like Yahoo.com when their Web sites get hacked because, most of the time, the company is to blame.
Carroll, author of Get a (Digital) Life; An Internet Reality Check, said many hackers delight in going after a high-profile company like Yahoo because it will get them some attention. However, he said, if companies paid more attention to security and gave it more that “lip service,” hackers wouldn’t be able to get in as easily.
“People are not plugging the holes that are known to exist that let this happen,” he said. “It is absolute, shear negligence.”
Yahoo.com was alerted last week that a hacker had entered its news pages and inserted phony quotes and wrong information on stories. Associated Press reported that the hacker, a 20-year old man from San Francisco, had easily penetrated Yahoo’s news Web site and changed a number of news stories by inserting fake quotes.
Yahoo, which claims to have 200 million registered users and is one of the Internet’s most popular sources of information for news, sports and other updateable information, issued a statement about the incident.
“Yahoo! takes security across its network very seriously, and we have taken appropriate steps to block unauthorized access to help ensure that we maintain a secure environment,” read the statement.
Bruce MacCormack, president of CanWest Global interactive, or Canada.com, said Canadian online news sources don’t go untouched when it comes to newsie hackers.
“Like everyone else we have a security system that is in place to prevent that kind of hacking,” he said from his Winnipeg office. “We have firewalls and we get an astonishing number of people trying to hack through.”
He said that a “mind-boggling amount” of hackers want to “write their own headlines for The National Post.
“It’s what people really want to do, and they want to change the news a little bit,” he said. “Because of who we are and what we do, we have a responsibility to maintain the integrity of the news going out there. I can’t have someone sitting out there knowing what the headlines are.”
Caroll said it is often “brain-dead simple” to break into some Web sites.
“People think that these hackers are brilliant. Yeah, they are smart, but a lot of times it isn’t rocket science. They just do things like to this to embarrass organizations and to get publicity and to do damage against a company they disagree with,” he said, explaining that it is the reason that the Internet community is seeing so many attacks on Microsoft products. “There is a huge community of people out there that don’t like Microsoft and they are willing to do whatever they can to embarrass the company and let the world know it writes lousy codes.”
Yahoo is at http://www.yahoo.com
Canada.com in Winnipeg is at http://www.canada.com