Wednesday, 2 January 2013


Unsettling start to 2013

New Year's Eve

On New Year's Eve I was closing down my computer for the night, clicking idly on links as I went. Doing so, I glanced at the Pető Institute's website, vaguely wondering whether there might be an Urbi et Orbi message, and found something very different:

hacked by h4cker-Dz

يحياو ناس الهضاب

and all Muslim hackers

I guessed that 'h4cker' signifies 'hacker', I could not translate the Arabic words (maybe they are a name), the 'gr33tz' must mean 'greets', and I do not know what the long string of letters and numbers says. The whole, however, seemed fairly clear – clear enough to wonder whether my own computer might have already been affected from just visiting there! I doubted it but, before giving up on 2012, I posted a brief warning notice of Conductive World's Facebook page.

There was just time too to Google “h4cker-Dz”...

Who, why?

Googling on this has led me into strange, disorienting, and threatening territory, cyber-badlands where people do things with technologies and for reasons neither of which I understand. Best to keep away.
Right at the top of Google's hit list, however, I did see that last year the h4cker-Dz team wrecked the website of the Buddhist monastry Mahamevnawa in Sri Lanka, and that it is allegedly based in Algeria:

Yesterday and today

New Year's Day was all quiet on this front, and the PAI's website stood blocked by that enigmatic message.

This morning, the PAI's website appeared back on line, in part.

I see that the Sri Lankan Buiddhists' opulent website is also up there, and presumably has been for some time.

A changing world

What an unpredictable start to the New Year – or is it? If something can be done then it can hardly come as a surprise if someone eventually gives it a try. Everybody knows about cyber-attacks and cyber-terrorism, cyber-espionage, cyber-fraud, cyber-this and cyber-that. Conductive Education is part of a real world in which so many things are technically possible, and in which given time they are therefore probable too. And yes, by the way, such things tend to get easier and cheaper by the year, more widely distributed and more 'democtratised'.
Do you have a website? How well protected is yours (along with your other computer systems)? Do you have an archived back-up? Does your insurance cover the cost of damage and its remediation? Is cyber-attack an audited 'risk-factor' that is accounted for in your business plan? Cyber-security: yet another unexpected, unwanted and irrelevant area of cost to be covered!
I suppose that one could even say Thank You to the h4cker-Dz team for this most concrete and public warning about the tough new hazards of life the twenty-first century – before wondering what other potentially foreseeable surprises now await us out there.



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