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Valentine’s Day Special: Do Hackers Have Hearts?

Part 11 in a Series on Cybercrime – Read Noa’s Other Featured Cybercrime Columns

Part 11 in a Series on Cybercrime – Read Noa’s Other Featured Cybercrime Columns Here

Valentine’s Day is around the corner. This is the time to prove your love. Bring roses to your dear ones, give chocolate and whisper sweet nothings. But what about hackers? Don’t they feel love? Bits and bytes aren’t just about computers. Before you read on, a warning to the faint of hearts – this Valentines exclusive is Rated R!

The Obsession Begins

Valentine's HeartThat first time will always be memorable. Once they’ve done it, they are hooked and ready for their next fix. They like talking about it, sharing memories and reminiscing. In fact, one hacker forum member raised just that – “What is the first thing you guys ever hacked? How accomplished did you feel?”. The respondents were not shy in exposing how they lost their “hackinity”. Here are a few highlights (with the original typos and grammar mistakes):

• “My friends wifi network. I felt really happy despite the ease of breaking WEP. That and again depending on your definition my first ‘blackbox’ wifi hack led me to sniffing the traffic of a guy searching craigslist for random hookups with 58 year old cougars and a 31 year old ‘secretly’ gay guy who ‘wasnt getting enough from his wife and looking for a nice guy’. It was REALLY amusing to me.”

• “probably a digital camera with CHDK, then my wii, then the school computors in 3 ways, which if i wanted too could potentially bring down the network, delete everyones profiles, and prank people with prorat, or use it as a DDoS army”

• … “I finally got cain and able working after disallowing it to run in promiscuous mode. So now I get everyone elses traffic haha. Apparently my sister divulges alot of “secrets” over AOL. bwahahaha. So finally, I have technically “hacked” something. Script kiddies ftw.”

The First Time

Well, that was… virtual. Let’s get a little more physical. In another hacker forum, a poster posed the question: “Share.. your story of when you first kissed a guy/ girl! Who, what, when, where, why, how sort of deal…”. With the amount of answers received, it seems that hackers have no problem to kiss and tell! Here are just a handful of those highlights (with the original typos and grammar mistakes):

• “was at a house party doing dares and got dared to kiss this hawt girl! you can guess what happened next…was like 13 at the time.”

• “3th grade, toungkiss, no trolls.”

• “Sadly I haven’t and it makes me feel pathetic. Being shy and quiet is a f— curse I swear. When I am not shy, I can’t think of anything to say.”

OK. That was somewhat mild…. I’m sure though that Freud at this stage would have loved to ask whether hacking is better than sex. Luckily for psychoanalysts, hackers were quick to answer on this one too. You know the drill – here a bunch of highlights with the original typos and grammar mistakes:

• “My copy of CyberGate and I are getting married next summer”

• “Haha, your f** kidding? LOL. Umm sex is always going to take precedence over a cyber thrill.”

• “I dont know man, imagine if you controlled a super-robot like the one in the Will Smith movie I-Robot… and your robot controlled an army of drones… then you could take over the world, and that might be a little cooler than just getting laid”

• “50% of the people who posted in this thread are virgin.”

The Love Bug

You gotta love social networks. Hackers, at least, seem to: imagine the nasty worms involved in order to obtain one million friends in one day. It’s almost Valentine’s day and hackers are amazingly knowledgeable on the psychology of love. As you’re the real consumer for all things considered love – they know to cook the bait in Facebook’s kitchen. To illustrate the love concoction, let’s walk through the simple steps. First, using automation, hackers can scrape a victim’s friends list from Facebook. This is not too difficult to do as researchers proved in time for the holiday. They were able to form a dating database by collection the ‘public data’ of 250,000 users. Attackers use the same tricks. With the list in hand, the attackers can proceed to their next stage. This involves sending to that certain someone Valentine’s emails seemingly coming from anyone of the victim’s friends. These emails urge to click on the Valentines card, or may reference links to love or chocolate. Of course, the victim cannot resist the urge of clicking on the link…

Love Advice

What can you do to prevent yourself from falling prey to a sick bot master?

• Look up who sent you the Valentine’s greeting. It’s about time you realized that your 5th grade teacher does not have a crush on you.

• Take to heart the most ignored recommendation of all times – do not follow links or download software referencing unsolicited spam. This is in particularly true to mobile users who according to research are more prone to phishing attacks.

• In case you are already infected with the bug – make sure your computer is patched, your anti-virus is on and your common sense in place!

Coming Up Next – Underground Meetings

Hackers develop more and more ways to prey onto unsuspecting individuals. As long as your data is worth money, all scams, including holiday ones will continue to rise. But how do hackers mate- I mean- meet and monetize on stolen virtual goods? Stay tuned for the next column as I discuss the hacker markets!

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