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6 Biggest Tech Security Fails in the Last Year

May 17, 2011



This is the age of being perpetually connected. If you have a Twitter, Facebook or any other sort of account, your information is out there. The best thing to do is just keep the information you don’t want people to know offline. It’s just safer that way.

Now, let’s take a look at the times that the major companies have failed, big time. There are several of them, here they are.

1) Texas Workforce Commission – Identities Released: Social Security Numbers, Addresses, etc.

My home state (note: everyone on iSmashPhone is from a different part of the world). It was recently found that Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers and other personal info, according to website ComputerWorld. Two security chiefs were fired over it, and while the Attorney General’s office says that there is no evidence that the exposed data has been misused, they did say that we should be careful about being targets of a new phone scam. Here is that press release. And everyone is worried about Apple? This was personal info for people who truly had no choice in the matter, smartphone or no smartphone, on a public website for nearly a year. This has lead to legal action.


2) Sony Computer Enertainment – PSN Down

Your online PlayStation Network account pales in comparison to your identity. Still, even Sony doesn’t seem to know what was compromised right now. At best, nothing or a little information about what games you like to play. At worst, a credit card number and billing address, which is horrible, but much easier to fix than identity theft. Still, Sony says they are working day and night to correct this massive problem. Meanwhile, Xbox fans are laughing at the Sony fans. We own both consoles, and can say that anyone is susceptible to a breach like this if hackers really feel they have a reason to mess with a company. Some say it was Anonymous, but that doesn’t seem like the case as they usually have no problem whatsoever with claiming their work. Of course it’s possible that it was a smaller group from within. They also confirmed that user info may be compromised.

3) Gawker – Passwords and Logins Compromised

This one was Anonymous. Apparently, Gawker did something to piss them off, and kept running their mouths. What happened? Anon attacked, and many passwords and logins were compromised. Most of us (even though we REALLY shouldn’t, and we all know it) tend to use the same login/password combo for everything. Yes, it’s a stupid thing to do. Still, it’s just much easier to remember one set of things than it is to keep several passwords and login names in mind. Especially when you start using more complex passwords that are more difficult to discover, as we should. No, most of us use an easy password, and the same one for all of our logins. It’s not a good idea. Lesson learned when thousands of logins and passwords are leaked online.


4) Blippy – Names and Credit Card Numbers Compromised

We don’t see why this was a good idea from the start. We have our limits to what we like to share online and a website that posts our credit card purchases just isn’t one of those things. A simple Google search would turn up users full credit card numbers. Really, it didn’t take anything more than a five second search with Google to find out some real names and credit card numbers, as well as what they had purchased. Nice way to gauge how much credit that person has, eh? Luckily, it seems like it was only a small fraction of users. Of course those users probably aren’t happy about it and that turns the rest of us off.

5) AT&T Breach

This one happened not long after the iPad 3G was released. A group of hackers known as Goatse Security sent Gawker a list of over 100k email addresses from high-profile users. These where somehow obtained through the email they had registered with their new iPads. Gawker, still bitter over the iPhone 4 fiasco called it an Apple breach. While Apple may share a small amount of the blame depending on how you look at it, the real problem was with AT&T’s system.


6) Bank of America

Bank of America also saw a strange breach recently when users’ accounts were compromised. Many had their cards declined and it became apparent that there was a problem when account holders went to the bank and noticed that their local branches were flooded with other account holders sharing the same problem. Terrifying, indeed.

Always Connected

We are always connected. Recently concern about our iPhone’s grabbing our location data arose. Thing is, we are all in a world where almost anybody is searchable on the internet. Employers look us up to see who we are, and people get fired over Facebook posts. It’s a bit overwhelming, but the world is changing quickly, and we are all in it for now.

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