A computer attack against Sony Pictures is in the news. Hackers believed to be working for North Korea infiltrated Sony’s computer systems, downloading private information and then seeking to overwrite and destroy the company’s data.
The hacker’s are now posting this private data online to injure Sony and its employees.
This is in retaliation for Sony’s releasing of a film The Interview. It’s a comedy about a fake plot to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. I agree it’s classless to make a comedy about killing a real person. But Kim Jong Un deserves no sympathy. He’s a brutal dictator who lives large while his people die in abject poverty. He’s accused of crimes against humanity, including the castration of dwarfs.
According to the FBI, 90% of American companies wouldn’t have been able to defend themselves against the attack against Sony.
This attack represents cyberterrorism. Because it likely originates with a state actor, it’s a cyber-warfare attack. The goal wasn’t to steal data just for financial gain. The goal was to wipe out a company’s use of its own data in an attempt to injure and destroy the company.
If 90% of American companies are susceptible to this kind of attack, it shows how vulnerable the American economy is to cyber-financial terrorism. What would happen to the US economy if 90% of American companies suddenly lost most of their computer data and their computer systems were trashed? It’s difficult to believe the economy wouldn’t plunge into a deep recession.
Prepper Lesson: Keep offline backups of your important information! A hard drive not connected to the Internet can’t be easily destroyed by a hacker who seeks to erase it. For personal use, a removable USB drive is just the ticket.
North Korea is a significant threat to world peace. It’s an unstable country led by habitual delusional megalomaniacs. Kim Jong Un’s father once claimed every golf shot he made was a hole in one! The rest of the world must constantly bail North Korea out to keep the country from massive starvation. North Korea regularly threatens South Korea in what amounts to little more than international extortion.
By 2016, it’s estimated North Korea will have 20 nuclear bombs.
This begs the question: Is it time to attack North Korea and disarm them? What happens if a leader like Kim Jong Un gets cancer and has nothing else to lose? What actions would someone like that take if they had significant nuclear capability and a general maliciousness toward the world? Should we allow such a country to build 20, 40 or more nuclear warheads before realizing the time for action was years ago?
I support peace, love, and goodwill to all men and women. I also support targeted assassination. There are slimeballs in this world who intentionally cause needless suffering and pain to innocent people. Is it really morally wrong to take these people out?
Adolf Hitler is the classic example. How much suffering could have been prevented if he had been assassinated?
Under the Clinton administration, America fired a few rockets at a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan. The stated goal was to destroy the training camp. The goal was really to kill Osama Bin Laden. Why not send in a special hit force? One sniper with a 7mm rifle could do the same job and probably have done it better. An ambush at a road with a couple of M-60s could have taken Bin Laden out at the time. The missiles missed.
I was told Bill Clinton didn’t want to violate international laws against assassination. I respect Bill Clinton for this. Most American Presidents don’t feel they need to respect international law. In principle, Clinton wanted to do the right thing as he saw it. That’s a credit to him. But had Bin Laden been killed back then wouldn’t that make the world a better place today?
I have no sympathy for brutal dictators who violate the rights of others or terrorists who seek to kill innocent people. When the brutality of such people has been established and it’s clear they’ll continue in their sociopathic ways, targeted assassination is often the best way of dealing with them when they appear beyond the reach of legitimate law. One malicious person shouldn’t be allowed to inflict massive human suffering with no consequences. That’s more morally wrong than assassination.
I suspect the real reason international law doesn’t recognize the above truth is that the law is designed to protect the rich and powerful elite. It doesn’t really seek to protect the legitimate rights of ordinary people suffering under brutal dictators. It’s a sad fact but those who fully control “their own” countries get away with murder. Mass murder. But targeting these leaders individually is labeled a crime. They don’t even like people to joke about it.
Sony hired a cyber forensics firm to investigate the attack. Cyber forensics is one of those cool sounding futuristic careers that actually sucks.
To slow the flow of confidential data, Sony is launching it’s own denial of service attacks against servers hosting its pilfered information. I’ve read an editorial that takes exception to this: What right does a private company have to launch its own cyber attacks which could injure other innocent people? Do we want private companies to have their own cyber armies?
There is a broader theme: Given the best defense is a good offense, why not hack into malicious hacker’s systems to know what they’re up to? When done by individuals or private companies, this is called digital vigilantism.
Alas, doing this puts you in the cross hairs of the law:
“Breaking into somebody’s computer, even if it belongs to a hacker in Russia who just hacked you, is illegal. It’s the same as if you broke into a robber’s house to take back your stolen jewels.” (1)
The mind-boggling moral, ethical, and legal question: If your computer is stolen, do you have the right to hack into it? Here’s a hacker who did just that.