RIM, British Tabloids and Sony are taking center stage recently and it isn’t the kind of attention any of them want. RIM had much of their Blackberry network shutdown, TWICE, in European, Africa and Middle Eastern countries. Sony has been hacked over and over again. Then we have News Corp. tabloids caught red handed in despicable phone hacking cases. These kind of things happen, and it isn’t unheard of for it to happen occasionally (minus the phone hacking thing). But this past year has shown more and more of these kind of tech disasters that no company wants to see more than once, if ever.
All three of these things have something in common, it is very hard to protect yourself from them. In Sony’s case, their customers depend on their service to keep their credit card information safe. When the first large hacking attempt happened people found out that some of the most sensitive data was kept in insecure documents, easily hacked and made public. This was a huge blow to Sony’s reputation as they had to shut down the entire network for weeks in order to repair the damage and be sure it wouldn’t happen again… But it did, almost immediately after being put back online. Customers were forced to cancel cards and get new ones as their information was made public. The hackers in question claim they did it on purpose as they have warned Sony that their network was not secure. After being ignored the hackers then showed Sony just how insecure their security was, and made the credit cards public so their numbers would be made useless within hours and unusable to someone willing to steal money from anyone. Many don’t feel the same way about how they went about doing this, but it seemed to be the only way Sony was going to change anything. Once again Sony is in the news as 65,000 accounts may have been compromised. Sony gambled, and they lost big time. Is it happening all over again? Only time will tell. But we suggest using another form of payment on PSN for the time being.
The second case we’re taking a look at is RIM’s massive network failure with their Blackberry’s in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. It was bad enough this happened once, but it happened once again shortly after the network was restored. It seems the outage happened due to a core switch failing and the back up systems not responding the way they were tested, causing a backlog that left them quite a mess to clean up. Blackberry products are incredibly popular and great pieces of technology, but none of that matters if you can’t use them. To have this happen twice within such a short amount of time certainly hurts RIM’s reputation, and nothing on the consumer end could make it avoidable.
The third and final tech disaster we’re looking at is the News Corp. phone hacking scandal. This is something many people can avoid by making sure your password and secret questions are hard to guess. For example, if you make your secret question “street I grew up on” someone could easily find that information out. We also suggest making sure your passcode for your mailbox isn’t 0000 1234 or 1379 (the four corners technique). The dirtiest part of this story had to do with a missing girl. One of News Corps tabloids allegedly hacked a missing girls cell phone inbox. When the inbox filled up they deleted messages making the authorities and family believe she may still be alive. The paper that allegedly did that is now nonexistent, but that hasn’t stopped the public outrage in the UK.
Those three things are worrisome, more so when you realize there isn’t much you, the consumer, can do to protect yourself from them. At the very least you can be comforted in knowing the Blackberry issue wasn’t something that involved stolen identity or personal information made public. Just be careful out there, and be mindful of the news so you can be aware of the next possible security risk. We offer many refurbished Blackberry‘s at thebluedot.net and you can trade in your old or used Blackberry’s at www.thebluedot.net/tradein.