February 05, 2013, 12:45 PM — A couple of days ago I received a scary sounding email from Twitter. It started like this:
Twitter believes that your account may have been compromised by a website or service not associated with Twitter. We've reset your password to prevent others from accessing your account.
My first thought was that this email was bogus – a phishing attempt to capture my Twitter log-on credentials. So I ignored it and logged on to my account directly from another device to see if there was any strange activity (at least, stranger than usual). There wasn’t.
Still, just to be safe, I changed my password to something more obscure and secure. Then I saw the news reports. I was one of the 250,000 Twitterati whose accounts had been hacked. There was a time when that might have made me feel special in a perverse way. But those days are gone. Increasingly, hacked is the normal state of being.
Last week, the New York Times published a detailed report of how agents most likely working for the Chinese government had hacked into its computers, located and decrypted its users’ passwords, and were roaming freely around its network like teenagers at a mall. A day later the Wall Street Journal published a me-too story, as did the Washington Post. Reuters and Bloomberg have also reported being hacked.
Yesterday I tried to dial up a story on ZDnet about how Anonymous had leaked personal details for 4000 bank executives, when I ran into this warning message in Chrome:
Turns out that NetSeer, an advertising network used by ZDnet, had been attacked by a malware injection exploit. NetSeer says its ad network was not affected, but any sites that carried NetSeer ads were automatically flagged as dangerous by Google.