Our Information is Safe from Hackers… For Now

The chances of being hacked varies on every individual, but every time we use the Internet, we risk contacting a virus or any technological disturbance that steals our confidential information. Occasionally, the news will mention users that lost their personal info to some scam online, to encourage its viewers to install any anti-virus program or anything that protects our data from hackers. Plus, the news often provides statistics of these technological catastrophes and present only one side, which is to persuade us to accept their advice to be careful. In addition, the reporters dramatizes the story more, causing the story to be a form of propaganda and further reinforce the ideology for technical data protection.


Recently, Chester Wisniewski, the Senior Security Advisor for Sophos Canada claimed that the latest report from New York Times, informed readers about CyberVor, a Russian cyber group, succeeded to hack to gain 1.2 billion usernames and passwords. Despite these statistics, Wisniewski wanted to relax readers because he pointed out the hackers do not even view the information as written text. Instead, they see passwords represented as hashes. These hashes slows down the hackers from quickly viewing information quickly in it’s literal text form and ensure users complicate their passwords by suggestion to  adding more numbers or letters.  These hackers also received their data for a while,  so the victim’s data accessed may not see be used.


Personally, I was initially skeptical that the hackers only saw hashes, instead of the information they collected illegally. Due to Wisnieski’s rank in his job and his other internet-savvy articles online, I concluded he was a reliant source of information and was relived with knowing hashes protect users from hackers. For now, I feel safer about my information and user accounts. However, technology continues to advance and hackers can still create new sites or ways gather information. This will create a cycle of both sides trying to fight each other, over users’ information. On the other hand, the internet users should accept responsibility and be able to detect fraud situations to evaluate if they should provide personal information online. His explanations about the hashes, presented optimism to relax the worried Internet victims. Since his article was informational for the pubic, his article is an example of new media in public domain.



Main Article/ Op-Ed