This was no Live Free or Die Hard starring Bruce Willis, but some large-scale hacks took place this morning on both Twitter and Facebook. The exact time the two sites went down was unclear, though Facebook was back in business much sooner than Twitter. My routine in the morning is to log into Tweetdeck while I wait for my work emails being uploaded. After several failed attempts to load tweets up on the deck this morning, I tried log into www.twitter.com but the site was said to be not found. Damn those hackers! Surprised and confused, I moved onto my emails but felt unsettled about the “denial of service” of two of the world’s largest social networks at the same time.
I looked up “hackers – computer security” on Wiki: A hacker is a person who breaks into computers, usually by gaining access to administrative controls. The subculture that has evolved around hackers is often referred to as the computer underground. Proponents claim to be motivated by artistic and political ends, and are often unconcerned about the use of illegal means to achieve them.
As I read on, I discovered a few things I didn’t know about hackers before, quoting Wiki: Several subgroups of the computer underground with different attitudes and aims use different terms to demarcate themselves from each other, or try to exclude some specific group with which they do not agree.
So great! Hackers disagree among themselves that means we have both good and evil hackers. There are the “White Hat” hackers who are non-malicious hackers who hack to test their own computer security systems…I can bear with that, since all major corporations employ professional “hackers”, otherwise known as computer/network secruity experts, to safeguard their business infrastructure and critical data.
Then there are the “Grey Hat” and “Black Hat” hackers. As their names suggest, they’re either borderline illegal or outrightly illegal by committing vandalism, credit card fraud, identity theft, piracy, or other types of harmful activity.
The last but not least category are the “Hacktavists” – who are probably most closely associated with this morning’s attacks on the two world’s largest social networking sites. Though unconfirmed at this point, this type of large-scale attacks reportedly began occurring back in July when a series of cyber attacks were launched against computer networks in South Korea and the U.S. by North Korean hacktavists, i.e. cyberterrorists. Today’s attacks on Facebook and Twitter were alleged to be instigated by cyber warlords between Russia and Georgia (the country, not the U.S. state).
I’m not trying to speculate who the hackers are out there and what their motivations are (although one may find on Twitter today some Tweeters making speculations and calling out hackers’ names), but be darn clear that our lives are never the same as before – Twitter and Facebook have become an integral part of our social and global identities and we’ll band together to fight for the freeodm to say what we want to say and when we want to say it on those sites.
I never realized until this morning that my life has never been the same ever since Twitter and Facebook. When I couldn’t connect with my fellow marketers and friends, I felt attacked…but victory sided with the open and just. Thanks to the hard work by our Twitter and Facebook guardian angels, who quickly brought the sites up again after a couple of hours. You guys did a heck of a job!