That’s hilarious, I have thought over and over again as I watched big name corporations get hacked on Twitter. And, when I hear about mythical hackers taking over entire commercial websites to make a point, my mind registers it as a small prank in today’s digital age. However, the hacking of the New York Times on Tuesday changed that.
Tuesday’s cyber-attack means that world’s media organizations, no matter how unbiased and established, are not truly safe on the web. The New York Times reported the Syrian Electronic Army is taking credit for shutting its website down for several hours. The pro President Bashar al-Assad group hacked The Washington Post earlier this month.
It’s fascinating, in a terrifying way, to think that a foreign group can censor media in America. For a few hours these groups can make the world’s great watchdogs play dead. That does much more than reduce the 24-hour news cycle, it allows groups to hijack media organizations to make a statement, shows vulnerability and negatively impacts the country.
The last claim is not an over exaggeration. In April, stock markets dipped after the Associated Press’s Twitter account was hacked and lies about a White House explosion were sent out. That’s a real example of the danger of groups using trusted names like the AP, The New York Times or The Washington Post to spread falsehoods or take political stands. Furthermore, these incidents lead you to wonder, what else isn’t quite as secure at these media organizations previously thought? Are sources protected? Is content?