It seems that hackers are sending a strong message, not just to the government and private companies but the common users as well; they’re not afraid of resorting to a new kind of terrorism: cyber-espionage. The hacking of private companies’ systems such as those of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Twitter, and just recently Facebook, is becoming a primary concern for the US government. President Obama wouldn’t be issuing the executive order on cyber security if there wasn’t any imminent danger. And if the nation’s leader is concerned, then there’s a good reason for the common users to feel the same.
Facebook Target of Sophisticated Hacking
Last Friday, February 15, social networking giant Facebook reported that they had been a target of a sophisticated hacking attempt when malicious codes were discovered installed in the company’s machines.
“Last month, Facebook Security discovered that our systems had been targeted in a sophisticated attack. This attack occurred when a handful of employees visited a mobile developer website that was compromised. The compromised website hosted an exploit which then allowed malware to be installed on these employee laptops,” the company reported in its official blog post. “The laptops were fully-patched and running up-to-date anti-virus software,” Facebook added.
In the said blog post, the word “sophisticated” was used which was enough to imply that it was no ordinary hacking. But the company was quick to declare that while their computers have been infiltrated, no user data have been compromised and the problem quickly averted. “As soon as we discovered the presence of the malware, we remediated all infected machines, informed law enforcement, and began a significant investigation that continues to this day,” the company assured its users. Facebook currently has over 1 billion active users and any data compromised would’ve caused public ruckus.
The company believes that they weren’t the only ones targeted, as hacking of other prominent sites have already been reported.
“Facebook was not alone in this attack. It is clear that others were attacked and infiltrated recently as well. As one of the first companies to discover this malware, we immediately took steps to start sharing details about the infiltration with the other companies and entities that were affected. We plan to continue collaborating on this incident through an informal working group and other means.”
A Call to Intensify Privacy Protection on a User Level
Facebook knows that it’s not enough that they work with other companies, the FBI, and the government regarding this issue. On its blog post, Facebook is also calling for users to work with them.
“We encourage people to submit any security vulnerabilities that attack our services to our Bug Bounty Program.”
From the looks of it, Facebook is calling for help from the public to intensify privacy protection on a user level. People, must therefore, do their share in protecting their right to privacy. It can be as simple as limiting personal information provided online, to using consistently security apps and features in a business phone.
As the hacking incidents are becoming more and more complicated, suspicions about a bigger spy threat are growing. The time to intensify efforts in protecting user privacy is now.