The Innocent Victims of the Sony Hack
The leaked unreleased movies, and the comments about their movies and stars made within the Sony corporate network are the headlines of the hack that Sony is dealing with right now, but as Gizmodo points out, there are also lots of “little” people being victimized by the public release of their mailboxes:
The scariest part of what happened is the collateral damage, the Sony civilians whose entire digital lives have been exposed to the world.
The most painful stuff in the Sony cache is a doctor shopping for Ritalin. It’s an email about trying to get pregnant. It’s shit-talking coworkers behind their backs, and people’s credit card log-ins. It’s literally thousands of Social Security numbers laid bare. It’s even the harmless, mundane, trivial stuff that makes up any day’s email load that suddenly feels ugly and raw out in the open, a digital Babadook brought to life by a scorched earth cyberattack.
This is no joke. This is a risk all of us face, every single day, whether it’s with a work or a personal email account. We communicate electronically all the time. We share intimate details of our lives with the recipients of our messages assuming that it’ll never be public. It’s not social media after all. But if the network that stuff is sitting on gets hacked, it’s open season on whatever information you have there.
You may assume you’d be fine in the same scenario, that you have nothing to hide, that you wouldn’t mind. But just take a look through your Sent folder’s last month. Last week. Yesterday. There’s something in there you wouldn’t want the world to see. There’s some conversation that would be misread without context, or read correctly for its cloddishness. Our inboxes are increasingly our id, a water cooler with infinitely expandable memory.
This is why privacy, and cyber-security, matter to all of us.
(h/t to Bruce Schneier, who adds his own comments as well.)