Pinoys’ personal cyber-hack attacks serve as wake-up calls

Sunday night’s Game of Thrones episode was leaked online, even before it was aired.

HBO’s distribution partner, Star India, reported the leak last Friday.

Reuters also reported Monday that hackers stole 1.5 terrabytes of data, including two unaired episodes of the hit TV series.

Meanwhile in North Korea, state-sponsored cyber spies are more interested in stealing money than state secrets these days. according to a new study released by South Korea’s financial security institute that Pyongyang’s cyber attacks have allegedly been targeting banks and ATM’s in South Korea.

The report shows they are the same group of homegrown hackers suspected to be responsible for the 2014 Sony’s Hollywood studio attack, as well as the $81 billion cyber heist of the Bangladesh central bank.

In New York, these Filipino filmmakers recently found out that individuals like them can also be targets of cyber-hacking.

Sibyl Santiago discovered she was recently hacked by the Russians, when she could not log on to her Expedia travel account. A Philippine call center helped her recover her account, only to find out that her account was hijacked by a Russian hacker.

“I was able to go on to see all the information was in Russian, there was a Russian name, some person named Olga Ray and booked some guy named Tritakov something, and he was going all over Europe…” she said. “He stayed a couple of night in Poland, a couple of nights in Nice, a couple of nights in Saint Germain, all over France, how happy naan niyan…”

This Fil-Am film director’s Facebook was duplicated by an unknown online hacker.
No harm was done, but the idea that some cyber-hacker can pretend to be him asking to friend his friends was quite disturbing.

“It was concerning to me, so he sent me a link to my Facebook account,” said TJ Collins. “It had my profile picture, it had the banner, it looked exactly like it…”

While neither of these two hacks seriously caused unrecoverable damage to their accounts, these cyber attacks served as a wake-up call when it comes to cyber security.

“A lot of these hackers are coming form internationally,” said Collins. “It’s just a dark web, how do you punish that, how do you identify that, and so it’s challenging at this day and age… I think its something that’s gonna be more addressed and have more stricter penalties, criminal investigations.”
Santiago says this personal cyber-attack makes her more concerned about the Russian interference in the US presidential elections.

“If they hacked the system, they pretty much take over our lives, so, if they can do that and then having that happened in our elections, even though they deny it to this day.”
These Filipinos are hoping that the results of special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation on the Russian interference in the US elections would eventually send a message to these online hackers – that cybercrime does not pay.


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