News Item

Gone Phishing: How Major Websites Get Hacked

National Geographic, By Brian Clark Howard

Two digital publishing giants, the New York Times and Twitter, succumbed to hackers on Tuesday, with the Times going dark for six long hours and with Twitter forced to reassure its millions of users that their personal information had not been compromised.

Other major media organizations, including the Financial Times and the Washington Post, have been targeted by hackers in recent months.

Some of the attacks were apparently perpetrated by a Russia-based group called the Syrian Electronic Army, which is allied with the embattled regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.

The surge of attacks raises questions about just how hacking works.

Though the targets of the recent headline-making attacks are big media organizations, security experts warn that anyone who works online may be at risk from the same malicious technique: phishing.

"The number of Internet users who faced phishing attacks over the last 12 months is shocking—it has grown from 19.9 million to 37.3 million, an increase of 87%," said Kurt Baumgartner, a security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, a provider of Internet security software and services. "It means that either people don't know about these warning signs or they don't pay attention." Read more.