Update: November 30, 10:40AM PST
There’s plenty of talk about the information recently released by Wikileaks. But there’s more information there than is generally being reported.
Two weeks ago, I wrote about the vulnerability of our infrastructure to cyberattacks. Do you think Wikileaks is the only organization to have obtained classified information without authorization? While Iran and North Korea are not hotbeds of hacking activity, they do have the money to pay people who are elite hackers.
Much of the world of hackers today exists within the sphere of organized crime. As with organized crime of years past, the driving forces are money and power, and the organizations have many layers, mostly insulated from each other. If someone within that community is able to gather classified information, it’s much more valuable than a database of credit cards. Even after filtering through all of the layers, with each taking a cut, the finder of the information makes a substantial amount of money.
There are many other ways in which such information may be obtained. Many young hackers are hired as contractors to write code to provide remote access. Others are then hired to collect files. Still others are hired to decrypt them, if they’re encrypted. None are aware of what the others are doing, nor do they know for whom they are working. The money’s good, so why does it matter?
Going after Wikileaks might make the public feel better, but they aren’t the root problem. The existence of Wikileaks is more of a symptom of a deeper issue, that of insufficient security of classified data.
In the end, the worst aspect of the publication of these documents isn’t that the Wikileaks information is now available to everyone. It’s that, even before Thanksgiving, it was already available to the people we least want to see it.
Update: The Cablegate site is currently under a DDoS attack, making the materials unavailable on the Internet, at least for the time being.
- Hacker Takes Responsibility for Wikileaks Takedown (mashable.com)
- Obama Administration Orders Review Of Procedures For Safeguarding Classified Information (huffingtonpost.com)
- Wikileaks evades hackers with shift to Amazon (guardian.co.uk)